Ithaca City School District says Caroline Elementary has been removed from state list of persistently dangerous schools

August 4, 2014 by Rachel Cera

Caroline Elementary School, which has been on a New York State education department list of "persistently dangerous" schools since the 2012-2013 school year, has been removed from the list, according to ICSD superintendent Luvelle Brown.

The outlying rural school, one of eight elementary schools serving the sprawling district, landed on the list of a few dozens of districts across the state in November 2012 after two consecutive years in which administrators reported a relatively high number of "violent or disruptive" incidents. Nearly all of the other schools on the list are in New York City.

The school had been labeled "potentially persistently dangerous," one step before landing on the list, in 2011, after the first report of 39 "incidents." The number of incidents is compared with the size of the student body to determine the school's "violence index," but schools that report a lot of borderline situations that may or may not qualify as "violent" risk landing on the "dangerous" list.

"The students at Caroline do amazing things every day and I am proud of the academic and creative achievements of the students and staff in our school," says principal Mary Grover.

ICSD implemented a "violent incident reduction plan" in early 2013 to comply with state requirements for schools on the list, and petitioned the NYS education department to remove the stigmatizing categorization. Officials spent a day at the school with students and staff this spring, and reversed the mark "in response to evidence submitted by the school and findings from an on-site visit," the district said.

"I've always disagreed with the state designation for Caroline, and I am pleased that our state Education Department moved so quickly to remove the label," Dr. Brown said in a statement.

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