Changes Coming to Sag Harbor Student Code of Conduct

Empty seats in a classroom at Pierson Middle-High School. Christine Sampson photo

Students in the Sag Harbor School District would be held accountable for off-campus actions that impact the schools, according to proposed revisions of the Sag Harbor Code of Conduct.

Further changes would include the formal adoption of the law known as the New York State Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), first implemented in 2012 and updated several times since, which defines bullying, discrimination and harassment; describes procedures for reporting incidents; and outlines consequences for students who engage in those types of acts.

Pierson High School principal Jeff Nichols called DASA “a game changer” for the administration as far as protecting students from incidents such as off-campus social media threats “as long as they impacted the educational environment in the school building,” he said.

During a public hearing Monday, Susan Kinsella, a parent and former school board member, cautioned the board about adding language concerning off-campus activities.

“I understand cyberbullying, but your language is very general. … It can be pretty precarious that you’re including outside-of-school activities,” said Ms. Kinsella, who was the lone commenter from the community.

Board president January Kerr said the district would continue to fine-tune the policy, but said she was happy with the changes. She anticipates the board will adopt it on December 3.

“I think this policy is a very good job of notifying the students of what is and what is not acceptable,” she said. “I think it brings us up to 2018.”