New York state education officials have decided to change how the state keeps track of violent incidents in schools.
Chalkbeat New York reports that the state's Board of Regents has approved changes to the “Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting” system, known as VADIR, a much-criticized system. Among the problems cited by critics are that seemingly benign incidents, such as throwing a ball at another student, have reportedly been logged as assault.
The revisions have been in the works since last year, when a proposal called for shrinking the number of incident categories from 20 down to nine. The new categories are meant to provide “a greater degree of clarity and are better aligned with the intent of VADIR, which is not to be punitive but rather to inform policies for reducing school violence,” according to state documents.
Some of the eliminated categories are robbery, arson, kidnapping, burglary and reckless endangerment. Incidents such as homicide, sexual offenses, harassment, and bullying remain on the list, along with new ones such as “physical injury.”
The system is used to compute which schools are considered “persistently dangerous,” a determination required under state and federal law.
New York City officials have complained that the system overstates the lack of safety in the city’s public schools.
The proposed changes have been supported by some student justice advocates, but Families for Excellent Schools, a pro-charter-school group that often plays up the dangerousness of traditional public schools,warned that the new categories could mask serious incidents.