New York City Board of Education

Incident Reporting System Needs to Be Strengthened to Ensure Accurate Reporting of School Safety Incidents

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.