A sampling of large New York City high schools showed that they failed to notify the state of a significant number of violent or disruptive episodes in the 2004-5 school year, says a city comptroller’s audit reported by the New York Times. Comptroller, William Thompson Jr., said the city had not ensured that principals accurately report violence in their schools, making it difficult for the public to assess their safety. The audit examined an array of records in 10 schools, comparing them with computerized data sent to the state.
On average, more than one in five episodes at the 10 schools were not reported to the state found. Reporting varied widely among the schools; some reported most incidents, while others did not. Although the audit examined only a tiny slice of New York City's more than 300 high schools, Thompson said it still showed that principals had too much discretion over how to categorize and report incidents. “Failure to report paints an artificial and illusory picture of what's actually going on in our schools,” he said, suggesting that principals may sugarcoat what erupts in their buildings. He called on the city Education Department to monitor more thoroughly how schools report safety data, saying its “lax attitude has allowed for a disturbing trend.”