On September 13, 2010, Gov. David Paterson signed the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) into law. DASA contains a variety of provisions to address the problem of bullying in schools. It also bans discrimination and harassment against public school students on the basis of several criteria, including “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression.” While New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms supports neither discrimination nor harassment, the nondiscrimination provisions contained in DASA are problematic; they have been used to force public schools to allow students that identify as “transgender” to use opposite-sex facilities.
Thankfully, New York’s Christian schools are exempt from DASA. Section 17 of DASA reads: “Nothing in this article shall apply to private, religious or denominational educational institutions.” However, Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) wants to change that. Bill S.722-Hoylman would repeal DASA’s exemption for religious schools, forcing Christian schools to grant male students access to girls’ restrooms and locker rooms, to allow male students to compete in girls’ sporting events, and to affirm beliefs and life choices that violate the teachings of Scripture.
Furthermore, Bill S.722-Hoylman would allow students at nonpublic schools to complain of discrimination to the New York State Education Department (NYSED). Upon receiving such complaints, NYSED would be empowered to investigate nonpublic schools to ascertain their compliance with DASA.
To put it simply, Bill S.722-Hoylman would force Christian schools to choose between violating the law, violating their own beliefs, and closing their doors. This set of choices is unacceptable, and this bill cannot become law. Please contact your elected officials today and encourage them to oppose this heavy-handed and unnecessary legislation.