FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 5, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG, SCHOOLS CHANCELLOR JOEL I. KLEIN AND POLICE COMMISSIONER RAYMOND W. KELLY ANNOUNCE IMPLEMENTATION OF SCHOOL SAFETY PLAN
Ten High Schools and Two Middle Schools Identified in First Phase of New Safety Plan to Focus Attention on Problem Schools and Problem Students
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced that twelve Impact Schools have been identified as the first phase of a new school safety plan to reduce school violence and disorder and create safe learning environments in all City public schools. The ten high schools and two middle schools were selected through a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of data from both the NYPD and the Department of Education (DOE), and will immediately receive additional school safety agents and the number of permanently assigned police officers will be doubled. The NYPD will also create a school safety task force made up of 150 uniformed police officers dedicated to Impact Schools to begin at the start of the semester. Suspension procedures have also been modified to expedite the removal of violent students. In addition, new school safety intervention teams made up of NYPD and DOE representatives has been appointed to evaluate and revise current school safety conditions and procedures at all impact schools this week. The Mayor was also joined by United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and Executive Vice President of the Council of Supervisors and Administrators Ernest Logan at the announcement at City Hall.
The Impact Schools are as follows: Evander Childs, Adlai Stevenson and Christopher Columbus High Schools in the Bronx; South Shore, Canarsie, Thomas Jefferson, Sheepshead Bay, Franklin K. Lane High Schools in Brooklyn; Washington Irving High School in Manhattan; and Far Rockaway High School in Queens. Two Bronx middle schools, JHS-22 and IS-222, were also included.
"We are cracking down on the schools with the worst safety records," said Michael R. Bloomberg. "They will be getting more police officers and a top to bottom review of all safety and disciplinary procedures. Disruptive students will not be tolerated. We have a responsibility to provide an environment free from violence and fear so their children can learn. We simply won't allow a few people to destroy the educational opportunities of others."
"The actions we are announcing today demonstrate how seriously we take the fight against school violence and student disorder," said schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein. "There will be more safety agents at these schools. There will be more police. And when serious violators get caught, they will be taken out of school to learn somewhere else. In the end it's up to the leadership at each school to make sure it is a safe environment for learning. We will be reviewing the policies and procedures at each school from top to bottom."
"The bolstering of police resources is the centerpiece of this plan to make schools safer," said Commissioner Kelly.
The Impact Schools were selected through an evaluation of data from both the NYPD and DOE. Schools with serious crime levels were identified by examining total number of incidents, incidents involving assaults (felonies and misdemeanors), incidents involving weapons or dangerous instruments and total number of major crimes for both last year and the first few months of this school year. NYPD data helped identify schools with emerging problems in the current school year. Troubled schools were also identified through a review of data on safety-related transfers, superintendent suspensions, attendance and supervisory visits along with input from regional directors, regional superintendents and senior administrators. The list of Impact Schools was reviewed by the Department of Education, the NYPD's School Safety Division, the United Federation of Teachers and the Council of Supervisors and Administrators.
Through November 30th this year, these Impact schools - which comprise less than one percent of the entire school system - accounted for 13% of all serious crimes and 11% of the total incidents in New York City schools - roughly 12 times their share. Last year, on average, these schools had roughly eight times as many incidents as other secondary schools (117 compared to 15); six times as many assaults as other secondary schools (7.8 compared to 1.3); nine times as many major crimes as other secondary schools (19 compared to 2); and nearly seven times as many weapons/dangerous instruments as other secondary schools (17.6 compared to 2.6). As a group, Impact high schools have above average suspension rates (81.8 per thousand, compared to a high school average of 55.5 per thousand) and below average attendance rates (74%, compared to a high school average of 82.8%).
All problem schools will eventually be addressed through the Impact Schools initiative. The 12 Impact Schools selected by the NYPD and DOE were part of the first round of evaluations. Impact Schools will change over time as conditions improve in some schools or worsen at others in the same way that the NYPD changes Impact Zones as needs change as part of Operation Impact. The first schools chosen will not necessarily have permanent Impact status.
The NYPD has increased the number of school safety agents and doubled the number of permanently assigned police officers at each of the Impact Schools. Additionally, the NYPD will also create a new 150-member uniformed school safety task force dedicated to Impact Schools that will begin at the start of the semester in February. These additional officers will focus on problem areas in schools such as hallways and cafeterias, monitor the perimeter of the school and organize truancy sweeps. Until the new permanent School Safety Division Task Force is established in the coming weeks, the Department's Patrol Boro Task Forces will be deployed to the Impact Schools to provide coverage in and around these schools.
New school safety intervention teams made up of four representatives from the NYPD School Safety Division and four representatives from DOE will conduct a top-down evaluation of school safety conditions and procedures and revise as appropriate at all Impact Schools this week. All incident occurrence reports, bell schedules, average teacher and student attendance and class-cutting reports will be evaluated. The teams will also review all entry and exit procedures such as scanning and monitoring, hours of access, lateness procedures, deans and school aid assignments, safety agent sweep schedules, problem locations and security assignments. Visitor policies, class
schedules, hall pass procedures, in-house suspension procedures and relationships between administrators, teachers, school safety agents and students will also be evaluated. Results from these and other inspections will lead to further revisions and enhancements to school safety procedures in all Impact Schools. The intervention teams will solicit input from teachers, staff, union representatives, student and parents.
Beginning immediately any student possessing a weapon or causing serious bodily injury will be removed from school and placed in a Second Opportunity School location. These students will not be allowed to return to their school pending their suspension, hearing and transfer to a new academic setting.
DOE will also begin a policy under which students that have two Principal's or Superintendent's suspensions will, upon the receipt of another suspension, be removed from school and placed in another instructional site while awaiting their hearing. As part of the hearing it will be requested that these students not be permitted to return to their school but rather transferred to a new setting to address their academic and behavioral issues.
In February DOE will be opening additional sites for student suspensions. These include additional After-School Suspension Sites, four Off-Site Suspension Centers and four additional New Beginnings sites.
Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson (212) 788-2958
Jerry Russo (DOE)
Michael O’Looney (NYPD)
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