BUFFALO, N.Y. — A recent report from the New York State Comptroller broke down the 32,084 violent and disruptive incidents in public and charter schools during the 2017-18 school year (the most recent data available), which prompted 2 On Your Side to look at the data for Western New York specifically.
State law requires schools to report "violent or disruptive incidents, as well as incidents of discrimination, harassment, bullying, and cyberbullying" to the New York State Department of Education.
We examined all 403 public and charter schools for which there was data during the 12-month period in question.
Look at the bottom of this article for the full breakdown of all incidents for every school in our region.
Six different schools in our eight-county region reported forcible sex offenses, defined as "forcible compulsion and completed or attempted sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct, anal sexual conduct or aggravated sexual contact" or forcible touching or grabbing of private areas.
Those schools include Fillmore Central K-12, Dunkirk Middle, Fredonia High, Bennett Park Montessori, Kenmore West Senior High and Warsaw Middle/Senior High.
In addition to those six forcible sex offenses, there were 147 others that were not classified as forcible but were still reported as violent and disruptive incidents.
During the 2017-18 school year, there were 861 assaults in 200 different schools in Western New York. Records show 16 of those resulted in serious injuries. Schools with the most physical assaults included Bolivar-Richburg Junior/Senior (47), Tapestry Charter School K-12 (34), Frontier Senior (25), Tonawanda Middle/High (24) and Arcade Elementary (23).
Administrators — and in some cases police — had to deal with 17 bomb threats and 51 false alarms, which included students pulling fire alarms or otherwise falsely reporting an emergency.
Whether during routine security checks, in a student's locker or elsewhere, 379 weapons were found on school premises in our local schools during the 2017-18 school year. All of the schools with ten or more weapons incidents were in the Buffalo Public School District.
Some of the most common violent and disruptive incidents involved alcohol or drugs. There were 685 incidents of use, possession or sale of alcohol or drugs during the time in question.
Batavia High (25), Charter School for Applied Technology (23), Pioneer Senior (21), Jamestown High (20) and Lancaster High (20) had the most instances involving alcohol or drugs.
While the Comptroller's report did not include the category of "discrimination, harassment, bullying and cyberbullying," 2 On Your Side crunched those numbers and found 2,559 total incidents in our eight-county region during the 2017-18 school year. About 1 in 5 of those cases were specifically for cyberbullying, which school leaders say has been on the rise.
The following districts reported more than 60 total incidents each:
- Cleve Hill Middle - 77
- Herbert Hoover Middle - 76
- Windermere Boulevard Elementary - 66
- Depew Middle - 61
While reporting is mandatory — and required by state law — principals have told 2 On Your Side that some schools and districts are more transparent than others, which can impact the numbers. While the state spells out specific definitions for each category, some grey areas could impact final reporting figures.