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Turning a Blind Eye to School Bullying


Turning a Blind Eye to School Bullying

New York Post December 23, 2017
Urban PolicyEducationNYC

Editor's note: The following is an editorial from the December 23, 2017, issue of the New York Post

The city Department of Education says it’ll target 300 schools for support in its new $8 million anti-bullying initiative. But how will it choose, when it does so little to track bullying?

NY1’s Lindsay Crist recently found that the DOE doesn’t even track bullying-related requests to transfer to another school. It doesn’t know how many kids request safety transfers, how many get denied or how many families reject the transfer offers.

This tracks with Chancellor Carmen Fariña’s ongoing legal battle against a suit by Families for Excellent Schools and 23 families to push the DOE to guarantee transfers for bullied and harassed students upon request. The suit was filed back in May 2016, yet Fariña only moved to implement some of its demands after the bullying-related fatality at a Bronx high school.

It’s easy to see why Fariña is now closing that Bronx school: News later broke that another student there attempted suicide last February after enduring bullying.

But the overall foot-dragging continues: One of the FES reforms she has embraced is to set up a complaint portal to let families do online reporting of incidents of bullying, intimidation and harassment. But it won’t be ready until 2019.

All this, when a Manhattan Institute report found that Mayor de Blasio’s policies to reduce school suspensions have been accompanied by “less order and discipline in the classroom.”

Kids can’t learn in schools that aren’t safe. What part of this does Team de Blasio not get?

This editorial originally appeared in the New York Post