Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Underreporting Crime In Public Schools: A Shell Game?

It is being said that some New York schools are underreporting incidents of violent crime in order to make them appear to be safer than they actually are:
Schools across the state, including Long Island, are seriously underreporting student fights and other violence, according to a new survey that blasts state education officials for failing to collect accurate data that could alert parents to dangers.

The survey by the state comptroller's office found that, in 10 out of 15 districts sampled, at least a third of violent incidents were not reported to Albany. Such reports have been required since 2000 under a state law adopted in the wake of the fatal shootings at Colorado's Columbine High School.

At Brentwood High School, for example, state auditors checked student records and found 78 assaults that had caused physical injuries during the 2003-04 year. No such incidents had been reported to the state, auditors reported.

School administrators in Brentwood and elsewhere blame such discrepancies on confusion over which incidents to report. For example, according to state rules, not all hallway shoving matches need to be counted, if they end quickly and without formal discipline. Among the signs of confusion: Uniondale High School reported more assault cases than appeared in its student files.
Read the whole thing and judge for yourself.

I'm not surprised.

Sadly, underreporting unpleasant statistics concerning school safety has been an open secret in public education for years.

In the weird little world that is public education, telling the unvarnished truth as one sees it to one's superiors (or the public) can often lead to an aspiring administrator being "demoted" back into the classroom or, even worse, the unemployment line.
Contributions for this week's edition of The Carnival Of Education (guest hosted this week by NY Educator) are due tonight. Get submission info here; see our latest education-related entries over there.