Schools across New York State are seriously underreporting student fights and other violence, reports Newsday. The newspaper quotes 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. Such reports have been required since 2000 under a state law adopted after the fatal shootings at Colorado’s Columbine High School.
At one 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. State Comptroller Alan Hevesi said it’s clear some schools are deliberately underreporting, in an attempt to avoid embarrassment. He demanded that the education department do a better job of identifying those where violence is chronic, so that parents who have enrolled children there can transfer them to safer buildings, as allowed under federal law.