In the Mayor's Mid-Year Management Report, data shows that public school crime is up 21% between July and October2006. Three hundred forty eight major crimes were counted, vs. the same period in 287. The biggest increase has come from grand larceny - there were 197 more in the July-October 2006 period vs. 119 in J-O 2005. The Mayor's criminal justice coordinator John Feinblatt said, "There are more laptops, there are more Blackberries, there are more cell phones, and the smaller they are, the more mobile they are, the more they're vulnerable to theft." Another target: Purses. He also added that there were five more days of school in the 2006 period, and said the increase, per the Sun, "amounted to neither a rash, an outbreak, or an epidemic."
However, teachers' union president Randi Weingarten said that Department of Education's focus on safety "has eroded," citing over 4,500 cases of assault, harrassment and more. She told the NY Times, "[The DOE is] sending so many mixed messages to principals. They’re sending these messages on paper that safety is important, but in terms of budgeting they’re sending the message that if you use your money for tutoring that’s better." Still, the Mayor found a silver lining and said that crime was down at the violent impact schools (he removed two from the impact list).
And in other school news, a Queens middle school teacher was arrested after throwing a book at a student. The 12 year old student wouldn't stop talking (NY Post)or refused to sit down (NY Sun), so Gale Dragone threw a book at her, which hit the girl in the face. The student suffered a bloody nose and Dragone was charged with second-degree assault and endangering that welfare of a child.