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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Cops, Not Counselors, Are in Schools To Guide Students

There is something terribly wrong with this policy.

Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice

1.6 Million Students Go to Schools That Employ Cops But No
High school counselors are charged with helping students work through academic or emotional problems. They might be the first line of defense if a student is struggling with depression, anxiety, abuse or other trauma—all factors that might lead to or exacerbate problematic use of drugs. Counselors are also supposed to guide the college application process, helping kids figure out how to get in, pay for school—or whether college is right for them and what kind ofcontinuing education best fits their needs. Naturally, this has been deemed an expendable position in many places—it’s one of the first jobs to go when public schools face budget cuts, the Washington Post points out.
On-campus cops are doing solid, though!
This morning, the US Education Department released a collection of data drawn from 2013-2014 surveys of nearly every single one of the nation’s 95,000 public schools. The results are part of the Civil Rights Data Collection, a survey done every other school year to measure access and equity in the public school system. The data show that 850,000 high school students didn’t have access to a school counselor. Meanwhile, 1.6 million (k – 12th grade) students attended a school that employed a law enforcement officer but no counselor.
In fact, 24 percent of elementary schools and 42 percent of high schools had a law enforcement officer on staff. Among high schools in with more than 75 percent of students were black or Latino, more than half had an officer patrolling campus.
Critics of law enforcement presence on school grounds point out that officers are more likely to escalate situations that could be de-escalated. Videos of officers seemingly over-reacting and using excessive violence against children and teenagers surface routinely. It also leads to suspensions and even criminal charges for seemingly normal teen misbehavior, which can be expensive and needlessly suck young kids into the criminal justice system.
As the Southern Poverty Law Center points out, there was an almost 40 percent jump in the number of school resource officers between 1997 and 2007, according to the US Department of Justice.
“The vast majority of these arrests are for nonviolent offenses. In most cases, the students are simply being disruptive,” notes  Marilyn Elias, a SPLC contributor. “And a recent US Department of Education study found that more than 70 percent of students arrested in school-related incidents or referred to law enforcement are black or Hispanic. Zero-tolerance policies, which set one-size-fits-all punishments for a variety of behaviors, have fed these trends.”

AG Schneiderman Says That the NYC DOE Has Failed To Accurately Report Bullying in Public Schools

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

NYC public schools have been underreporting bullying, 
report suggests
Ben Chapman, NY Daily News
The city has failed to accurately tally incidents of bullying in public schools, a report issued Wednesday by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman suggests.
Schneiderman’s analysis of state Education Department data from the 2013-14 school year found that 1,257 of 1,792 city schools — or 71 % — reported zero incidents of harassment, bullying or discrimination of students for that entire year. And 1,762 schools — or 98% of the total — reported 10 or fewer incidents.
Those low figures “suggest both significant underreporting of material incidents of harassment and discrimination by schools in New York City, along with some confusion or uncertainty as to how to classify those incidents that are reported,” Schneiderman’s report stated.
The findings highlight the importance of accurately tracking bullying in city classrooms, the AG added.
“It’s vitally important that students feel comfortable coming forward with fears of discrimination or harassment,” said Schneiderman. “And it’s equally important that schools honestly report their responses to these issues.”
The Dignity for All Students Act of 2010 required all city schools — and public schools across the state — to report incidents of bullying to a public database, so that school leaders and education officials could better address the issue.
But the city has been criticized for years for failing to accurately gather and report data on bullying.
A 2014 analysis by the Daily News found that a whopping 1,378 Big Apple schools — or 80% — reported zero incidents of bullying or harassment for the 2012-13 year.
And an audit last year by state Controller Thomas DiNapoli determined that the city Department of Education did not report roughly 400 violent and disruptive incidents that occurred in city schools from 2011 to 2013 to the state Education Department as required by law.
City Education Department spokeswoman Toya Holness said Schneiderman’s report relies on outdated data and doesn’t adequately capture the city’s efforts to fight bullying.
“Our schools are the safest they’ve ever been, and reporting incidents is not an option, it’s a requirement,” said Holness. “Explicit protocols and robust training programs are used in all schools.”

Rimma Kunik Wins Her Article 78 Challenging The Rating Of "Unsatisfactory"

Matter of Kunik v New York City Dept. of Educ.
2016 NY Slip Op 05812
Decided on August 17, 2016
Appellate Division, Second Department
Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.
This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.

Decided on August 17, 2016 SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department 

(Index No. 13049/13)

[*1]In the Matter of Rimma Kunik, appellant, 


New York City Department of Education, et al., respondents.

Melito and Adolfsen, P.C., New York, NY (Steven I. Lewbel of counsel), for appellant.
Zachary W. Carter, Corporation Counsel, New York, NY (Jane L. Gordon and Megan E. K. Montcalm of counsel), for respondents.

In a proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 78, inter alia, to review the respondents' rating of the petitioner's job performance for the 2012-2013 school year, the petitioner appeals from an order and judgment (one paper) of the Supreme Court, Kings County (Ash, J.), entered February 4, 2015, which granted the respondents' cross motion pursuant to CPL 3211(a)(7) and 7804(f) to dismiss the petition and, in effect, denied the petition and dismissed the proceeding.
ORDERED that the order and judgment is reversed, on the law, with costs, the cross motion pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7) and 7804(f) to dismiss the petition is denied, the petition is reinstated, and the matter is remitted to the Supreme Court, Kings County, for the service and filing of an answer and the administrative record within 30 days after the date of this decision and order, and for further proceedings on the petition in accordance herewith.
The petitioner, who at the relevant time was a school teacher at Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, received a rating of "unsatisfactory" from the respondents for her job performance in the 2012-2013 school year. The petitioner appealed the rating with the respondent New York City Department of Education's (hereinafter the DOE) Office of Appeals and Reviews. Prior to the DOE's determination of the appeal, the petitioner commenced the instant proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 78 to challenge the rating. The parties subsequently stipulated to remove the case from the court's calendar pending determination of the administrative appeal. Thereafter, the DOE denied the petitioner's administrative appeal. The petitioner then moved to restore the petition and sought leave to amend the petition to amplify certain facts. Prior to answering the petition, the respondents cross-moved to dismiss the petition pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7) and 7804(f) for failure to state a cause of action. The Supreme Court granted the respondents' cross motion, finding that the DOE's determination was neither arbitrary and capricious nor an abuse of discretion, and, in effect, denied the petition and dismissed the proceeding. The petitioner appeals.
The Supreme Court erred in granting the respondents' cross motion pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7) and 7804(f) to dismiss the petition. "On a motion to dismiss a pleading pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7), all of the allegations in the petition are deemed true and the petitioner is afforded the benefit of every favorable inference" (Matter of Grecco v Cimino, 100 AD3d 892, 897; see Matter of Johnson v County of Orange, 138 AD3d 850; Matter of MVM Constr., LLC v Westchester County, 112 AD3d 635, 635-637; Matter of Oddone v Suffolk County Police Dept., 96 AD3d 758, 762). In determining such a motion, the sole criterion is whether the petition sets forth allegations [*2]sufficient to make out a claim that the determination sought to be reviewed was " made in violation of lawful procedure, was affected by an error of law or was arbitrary and capricious or an abuse of discretion" (CPLR 7803[3]; see Matter of Oddone v Suffolk County Police Dept., 96 AD3d at 762). When evidentiary material outside the pleading's four corners is considered, and the motion is not converted into one for summary judgment, the question becomes whether the pleader has a cause of action, not whether the pleader has stated one and, unless it has been shown that a material fact as claimed by the pleader is not a fact at all, and unless it can be said that no significant dispute exists regarding it, dismissal should not eventuate (see Guggenheimer v Ginzburg, 43 NY2d 268, 275; Matter of Clavin v Mitchell, 131 AD3d 612, 614).
Applying this standard, the petition and the documents annexed to it establish a cognizable claim that the respondents' determination was made in violation of lawful procedure, or was arbitrary and capricious or an abuse of discretion. Contrary to the respondents' contention, the petitioner's claim is not a mere disagreement as to whether the rating of "unsatisfactory" was deserved. Rather, as set forth in the petition, the petitioner alleges that the process used by the respondents in arriving at the rating was based on a failure to observe her entire class lesson, faulty background knowledge, and unlawful procedure. Accordingly, the Supreme Court erred in granting the respondents' cross motion pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7) and 7804(f) to dismiss the petition (see Matter of Schlemme v Planning Bd. of City of Poughkeepsie, 118 AD3d 893, 895; Matter of MVM Constr., LLC v Westchester County, 112 AD3d at 636; Matter of Oddone v Suffolk County Police Dept., 96 AD3d at 762; Matter of Zaidins v Hashmall, 288 AD2d 316, 316-317).
Thus, we remit the matter to the Supreme Court, Kings County, for the service and filing of an answer to the petition and the complete administrative record (see CPLR 7804[d], [e]), and for further proceedings thereafter on the petition.
Aprilanne Agostino

Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice