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The march of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia on Aug. 12 has called attention to Americans who are openly proud to be racist and raised questions about how everyone else (including President Donald Trump) should respond.

Overt racism appears to be an issue for public schools, too. Groups that track incidents involving hate symbols and racial slurs have reported an increase in bias-related incidents in school districts across the nation this year, including swastikas spray-painted on Syosset High School in August.

When incidents involving expressions of racial animus occur in schools in New York State, district leaders will be under scrutiny for how they react. This article will cover the relevant legal standards.

The Dignity Act

Acts of racism are so reprehensible that school officials might want to severely punish such behavior. However, any disciplinary response must be consistent with your own school district’s policies and New York’s Dignity for All Students Act (the Dignity Act).

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