Building on the Safest School Year On Record
By Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Rose
New York City is the safest large city in the country, and crime in New York City schools is at an all-time low. Schools are the safest they’ve ever been, and in the last five years alone, total index crime has fallen 35 percent in schools. Unlike some politically-motivated detractors, our focus remains on ensuring the safety of students in all school buildings.
The city is investing over $47 million annually on school climate and mental health supports, has hired hundreds of additional guidance counselors and social workers, and is expanding resources for mental health clinics, social emotional initiatives, restorative practices and other effective programs. In addition to new supports, the administration has trained all 5,200 School Safety Agents and thousands of educators in conflict resolution and de-escalation strategies.
While Teamsters Local 237 President Greg Floyd is using fearmongering to generate attention, we’re using our resources to support schools and students — and the results of these initiatives speak for themselves. Since the 2014 school year, suspensions, arrests and crime have decreased by 30 percent, 18 percent and 12 percent respectively. Additionally, school-related EMS transports for emotional or psychological reasons declined by close to half.
Perceptions of safety remain high among teachers and school staff. Since the 2014 school year, students who indicated they felt “safe in the hallways, bathrooms, locker rooms, and cafeteria of my school” increased from 79 percent to 83 percent, and students who said they feel safe in their classes increased from 87 percent to 91 percent. All of this data is readily available online, as the de Blasio Administration has vastly increased the amount of safety and education information available to the public.
While some critics, including Mr. Floyd, falsely claim there’s a “crime wave” in our schools and argue for more draconian school discipline measures, the data is clear and easily accessible. Providing schools with effective supports leads to fewer suspensions and less crime. We’re keeping students in the classroom and are providing them with an excellent and equitable education.
Crime is at an all-time low, and school-based arrests, summonses and suspensions are continuing to decline. We’re making significant progress and it’s directly benefiting students.
Keeping schools safe is a partnership — DOE works in closely with the NYPD, FDNY, and other city agencies, and community based organizations and families are an important part of this as well. Mr. Floyd should get off his soap box and be a part of the positive change that’s taking place in schools across the City.