FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Education Department Announces Public Comment Period for Proposed Amendments to Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting Regulations
Amendments Make Reporting Incidents Less Complicated, Place Greater Emphasis on Violent Offenses
Proposed amendments to Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting (VADIR) would make the reporting process less complicated and place greater emphasis on violent offenses, the State Education Department announced today. Proposed changes include reducing the number of reporting categories from 20 to nine and clearer incident definitions that are better aligned with the intent of VADIR, which is not to be punitive but rather to inform policies for reducing school violence. The proposed amendments will be made available for a 45-day public comment period.
"Schools should be safe havens for our children but, all too often, tragedies and emergencies rob our students and teachers of that sense of security," Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. "It is imperative that we give schools the tools they need to put in place strategies for creating safer school environments and these proposed amendments are a big step forward in helping to do that."
“There is literally nothing more important than protecting our children and it’s impossible for a student to focus on learning if they go to school in fear each day,” Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “These recommendations are based on feedback from administrators, teachers, professional education associations, and students themselves. It is critical that everyone has a clear and consistent way to track and compare the level of safety in every school so districts can better work toward ensuring each child is protected from harm.”
Both federal and State law require the Department to implement a statewide policy that identifies persistently dangerous public elementary and secondary schools, for the purpose of unsafe school choice. Enacted as part of the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act (SAVE) in 2001, Education Law §2802 required the Commissioner, in conjunction with the Division of Criminal Justice Services, to establish a statewide uniform violent incident reporting system (VADIR) and to promulgate regulations defining “violent or disruptive incidents.”
In recent years stakeholders have expressed concern that VADIR categories do not accurately capture the types of incidents that occur in schools, and do not serve as a tool for schools to identify strategies to reduce incidents of violence and improve school climate for the purpose of improving student outcomes.
Together with State Education Department staff, members of the New York State Safe Schools Task Force developed a revised method for collecting incident data that incorporates both VADIR and Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) into one reporting structure. The value of incident weights has also been reviewed and revised to ensure that the most egregious acts continue to be weighted most heavily.
The proposed amendment revises the current list of 20 reporting categories to the following nine categories:
- Bomb Threat
- False Alarm
- Material Incidents of Discrimination, Harassment, and Bullying
- Physical Injury
- Sexual Offenses
- Use, Possession or Sale of Drugs
- Use, Possession or Sale of Alcohol
- Weapons Possession
The Regents Item and full amendment can be reviewed here. A notice of proposed rulemaking will be published in the State Register on September 28. After that date, comments may be sent by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org . The 45-day public comment period will expire on November 14. If the regulation is adopted, it will become effective beginning in the 2017-2018 school year.
Information on current VADIR reporting can be found here.
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