According to an audit of ten New York City Schools, nearly one third of violent incidents went unreported. This added up to 400 incidents, which included 50 assaults, 13 sex offenses and two weapons cases. The audit, which was performed by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office, revealed that many schools failed to report in order to protect their reputation from further harm or to prevent being labeled a “persistently dangerous” school.
In a related story, New York State has streamlined it’s school violence reporting system (VADIR) allegedly to encourage schools and districts to be more accurate with regards to violence, bullying and theft. According to www.educationdive.com, during the 2013-2014 school year, 62% of districts reported no bullying incidents at all, while research shows that one in four students are bullied at school. Reports also seem to be underreporting sexual harassment – statistically such incidents are likely to occur but yet the reports show zero cases.
A class-action suit was filed against the New York City Education Department, claiming that students are being denied their right to “receive and education free of violence, bullying and harassment”. The suit, among other things, asks that the city be compelled to devise a plan to address issues of violence and harassment and requested that the court appoint an independent auditor to oversee the department’s efforts. It is unclear if the suit was filed based on the Dignity for All Students Act, or DASA, which seeks to address such issues, but is mostly seen as a failed initiative that schools ignore or fail to understand.