New York City Board of
Incident Reporting System Needs to Be
Strengthened to Ensure Accurate Reporting of School Safety
The Division of School Safety (DSS) is responsible for
maintaining a safe and secure environment in the schools. DSS has
3,000 School Safety Officers stationed in the Board's 1,100
schools. DSS utilizes a computer database to track the number of
school safety incidents that have occurred in the schools.
Reports are issued twice a year showing the number of such
incidents for the period July 1 through December 31 (midyear
report), and July 1 through June 30 (year-end report). A new
incident reporting system was put in place for the 1994-95 school
year. The Board reported 8,333 incidents in its 1994-95 midyear
report. We found that the midyear report significantly
understated the actual number of incidents that had occurred at
seven sampled schools, and that this underreporting was
indicative of a systemic problem. Principals at the seven schools
reported only between 4 and 35 percent of the school safety
incidents that resulted in student suspensions. This serious
underreporting was caused by the principals unwillingness to
submit incident reports, and the Division's not utilizing readily
available suspension information. The Board agreed that there had
been underreporting of school safety incidents, but did not
believe it was to the degree cited in our report. The Board
agreed with our recommendations, including the use of suspension
information to capture school safety incidents.
For a complete copy of A-7-95 click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.