Bullying In NYC Schools Has Never Been Worse, Survey Finds

An all-time high percentage of students say there’s bulling in their schools, a new city report says.

Bullying in New York City schools has never been more widespread as students face a dearth of support for coping with it, a new city report says.

An all-time high 82 percent of sixth- through 12th-graders said bullying happened in their schools last year, up from 65 percent in 2012, according to the report City Comptroller Scott Stringer published Monday.

“This report makes clear that our kids are facing greater social challenges than ever at school, and the City must properly identify the magnitude of the problem and provide additional resources to bring down the conflict and bullying that’s become pervasive,” Stringer, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Some 23 percent of surveyed students said they did not feel safe near their school. And nearly a fifth — 17 percent — said there was no adult in school in whom they could confide.

More than a third of the most violent schools lack a full-time social worker to help students, the report says, and 45 percent of schools had no social worker at all last school year.

The comptroller recommends that the Department of Education boost the number of school social workers and fund more mental health resources.

City students also face tough discipline from school staff and police, the report says.

Students — including some as young as 5 — were handcuffed more than 1,800 times last school year, according to the report. Cops and school safety agents racked up more than 2,000 arrests and summonses in the same year for charges such as marijuana possession and disorderly conduct.

At least 90 percent of the kids handcuffed, arrested or given summonses were black or Latino, the report found.

Suspensions also increased more than 20 percent in the first half of this school year from the same period last year despite efforts to drive them down, the report says. Black students are suspended at more than triple the rate of white students.

The report says the DOE should clarify the role of the NYPD’s school safety agents and expand alternative discipline practices.

Schools are also failing to properly report some violent incidents, according to a separate audit Stringer’s office released earlier this month.

Some 21 percent of “violent or disruptive” incidents from a sample of 10 schools weren’t recorded in the DOE’s online reporting system, the audit found. The DOE also failed to track certain information that helps assess whether incidents should be reported to a statewide database, the audit says.

The DOE says the city is investing $47 million a year to expand mental health and school climate programs, plus $8 million for new anti-bullying initiatives. Another $2 million in City Council funding for the next fiscal year will go toward adding guidance counselors, the department said.

“As part of our ongoing work to ensure students are provided with a safe, supportive and inclusive learning environment, we’re adding more guidance counselors, providing additional training, launching a portal for families, hosting community workshops, and we remain laser-focused on this work,” DOE spokeswoman Miranda Barbot said in a statement.

The DOE noted that 98 percent of incidents from the 10 schools the comptroller’s audit reviewed were properly recorded.

By Noah Manskar [Patch]