New York School Safety Report Accuracy Questioned Again

NEW YORK – According to a school safety report, the New York Department of Education has significantly underreported the number of school-safety incidents.

The report, released by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and mentioned in a recent related CS news item, contends 18 of 158 school administrators polled handled more than 180 safety incidents in the 2004 to 2005 school year. According to New York’s Department of Education, only eight schools saw more than 180 safety incidents that school year.

Gotbaum’s report attributes the discrepancy to a trend of underreported incidents that “is symptomatic of flawed or unrealized school-safety and discipline procedures.” As mentioned in CS’s previous news item, only 23 percent of school administrators polled in Gotbaum’s report believe they receive adequate public funding to hire more security personnel and open up facility space.

While city officials refute the report’s findings as baseless, citing a 3 percent response rate by school administrators to the anonymous Internet survey, such allegations are not new. As reported in another previous CS news item, the State Education Department (SED) for New York flagged the problem of incident underreporting last year.

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