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Students attacked, threatened thousands of school employees last year.

City school kids aren’t just hitting the books, they’re smacking their teachers. More than 10,000 city school employees, from custodians to principals, and about half of them teachers, were assaulted or threatened by students last school year, The Post has learned. A total of 10,825 staffers reported incidents in 2016-17, a 4.5 percent increase from...
Time: 20:05     Date: 21.04.2018
Metro News: Students attacked, threatened thousands of school employees last year. NY Post 24 - US News

More than 10,000 city school employees, from custodians to principals, and about half of them teachers, were assaulted or threatened by students last school year, The Post has learned.

A total of 10,825 staffers reported incidents in 2016-17, a 4.5 percent increase from the 10,357 ­embattled educators in 2015-16, and 11.8 percent more than the 9,686 in 2014-15, data show.

The number of incidents — including “altercations,” “physically aggressive behavior” and “inflicting serious injury” — also spiked. Schools reported 9,529 cases in 2016-17, up 3.5 percent from 2015-16 (9,211) and 10 percent from 2014-15 (8,677). Some cases involved multiple victims.

And from 2015 to 2017, a staggering 8,253 school employees, including 3,792 teachers, suffered injuries in those incidents.

Critics said the data belie Mayor de Blasio’s boast of school safety being at an all-time high.

“The mayor’s narrative is that the schools are safer, crime is down. These stats show crime is not down. Assaults are high, threats are high,” said school-agent union leader Gregory Floyd.

“I’ve said from the beginning of the de Blasio administration, the schools are out of control.”

Luis Penzo (left), an 18-year-old student, confessed to pummeling his principal, Matthew Tossman, in October 2016.Steven Hirsch/Facebook

PS 78 in Queens topped the list with 80 victims of violence or threats in 2014-15; PS 3 on Staten Island held the top spot with 100 victims in 2015-16; and the Island’s PS 60 recorded a leading 179 victims in 2016-17.

The city Department of Education took 18 months to comply with The Post’s Freedom of Information Law request for the disturbing data.

The DOE refused to divulge details on the violence, citing student privacy, but several incidents have made the news:

A Bronx special-needs high-school student stabbed his teacher with a No. 2 pencil in October 2015. Devon Smalls, 17, attacked his 44-year-old teacher, Juliet Omenukwa, inside the Jeffrey M. Rapport School for Career Development, police said.Smalls, a special-needs student suspended three days earlier, allegedly punched the shell-shocked instructor and jabbed her multiple times in the ribs with the freshly-sharpened point, according to witnesses and reports. The teen pleaded guilty to harassment, and the charges were dropped on condition he complete community service, the Bronx DA’s office said. In May 2016, a veteran English teacher at troubled Flushing HS landed in hot water for trying to stop a student who threatened to beat her with a heavy cast on his arm. Eileen Ghastin was so terrified when the teen charged at her that she blurted in self-defense, “If you hit me, I’ll kill you.” The May 17 confrontation occurred at a long-troubled school in de Blasio’s $600 million “Renewal” program. But instead of expelling the teen, the DOE suspended Ghastin for four weeks, with a hearing officer saying she should have followed Michelle Obama’s motto, “When they go low, we go high.” Ghastin is appealing. In October 2016, a student at Manhattan Early College School for Advertising pummeled his principal who had asked him to remove his headphones. “He grabbed my Beats and was very aggressive so I lost control,” 18-year-old Luis Penzo confessed, court papers say. Matthew Tossman, 36, suffered two black eyes and a laceration that needed seven stitches. In September, a Manhattan Supreme Court judge granted Penzo youthful-offender status and sentenced him to a conditional discharge: if he stays out of trouble for three years, he’ll avoid prison and a criminal record.

Some teachers believe the number of assaults and threats is much higher, and that many incidents do not get recorded on the DOE’s Online Occurrence Reporting System.

Some administrators don’t want the school to look bad, or they blame the teachers for “poor classroom management.”

“If you complain, you’re a target,” a teacher said.

“One of our frustrations with the Department of Education is that it fails to ensure that this happens in every school,” he said.

The DOE data does not include assaults on school safety agents, who are NYPD employees. The unarmed guards suffer injuries while breaking up fights or trying to restrain kids — some have been punched or stabbed, said union leader Floyd.

“If they assault adults, what would they do to students?” Floyd asked. “Children are being bullied and threatened too.”

Last September, a bullied teen at Urban Academy School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx whipped out a folding knife and stabbed two classmates, one fatally. There were 18 incidents at the school in recent years, five during 2014-15, two in 2015-16 and 11 in 2016-17. The school is closing this year.

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