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Old 03-14-2019, 11:43 AM
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Default Politicians skeptical of NYC schools’ bullying report


Politicians skeptical of NYC schools’ bullying report
By Alex Taylor, Carl Campanile and Selim Algar
March 13, 2019 | 10:10pm | Updated

Hundreds of public schools never reported a single instance of bullying to the state, as required by law — including some of the largest in the city, according to a report Wednesday from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Leading the pack in the hard-to-believe statistic was Hillcrest High School in Queens, which has 3,354 students and claimed not one complained about bullying or harassment over a three-year period ending in June 2017.

At the same time, in a separate school survey, 18 percent of students confided that they were bullying victims.

City Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Queens) accused the Department of Education of trying to camouflage a crisis.

“It’s hard to believe,” Dromm told The Post. “We’ve seen this pattern over and over again. It’s a cover-up.”

State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) said he would confront Mayor Bill de Blasio about the report on Friday at a hearing in Manhattan on mayoral control.

“This is shocking,” said Hoylman. “No kid in our schools should feel unsafe.”

Despite being mandated to report bullying, 670 schools — more than a third of the entire system of 1,600 — failed to flag even one occurrence during the 2015-16 academic year, according to the report.

The following year, 570 schools didn’t report any bullying incidents.

Students at Hillcrest were perplexed by the absence of officially reported incidents.

Sameer Bhutta, 15, said immigrant kids are the primary victims of schoolyard torment.

“Bullying goes on in this school, definitely,” he told The Post. “Basically kids that come to this country get bullied by kids from here. They call them ‘FOBS’ — fresh off the boat.”

Bhutta said teachers are generally diligent in dealing with bullying — but he wasn’t so sure that they reported incidents.

Another student said bullying is rampant at Hillcrest — but that some kids are too scared of reprisal to tell staffers.

“My friend got robbed two weeks ago,” a 15-year-old student told The Post. “He got punched and the other kid broke his glasses. He didn’t report it. I think he was scared to be called a snitch. Kids aren’t telling the teachers. The teachers aren’t taking it seriously.”

The state’s 2012 Dignity for All Students Act required all schools to record bullying incidents in an online database that gets relayed to state education officials.

The DOE insisted it takes the issue “extremely seriously.”
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