Audit: Many schools misreporting or not reporting bullying

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A new audit by the state comptroller finds that many New York schools are misreporting or completely failing to report incidents of bullying to the state Education Department, as required by law.

Four years ago, the "Dignity for All Students Act" was implemented to protect students from discrimination, harassment and bullying based on categories such as race, gender and sexual orientation.

The state audit found that for three consecutive years, 41 percent of schools in Nassau County and 33 percent of schools in Suffolk County reported zero violations of the "Dignity for All Students Act,"  when in fact the state comptroller says bullying was happening. 

Ezra Green, 16, says he’s not surprised. Green identifies as a male but was born female.  He says he's had to put up with a lot of bullying because of that, and that most of it happened as a student at Harry B. Thompson Middle School in Syosset.

“It would follow me out of school, so even when I left for the day, I’d be getting these hate messages anonymously online,” says Green.

The Syosset Central School District didn't comment specifically on Green's case, but said it is in full compliance with DASA and has implemented programs to promote tolerance.

Freeport High School was specifically named in the audit for failing to report incidents under DASA, but it did report bullying under a different category. In a statement, the district superintendent said the reporting criteria for both categories is very similar, but that this past year they made sure to file the incidents in the Dignity for All Students category.

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