FW: DE BLASIO SUES CITY FOR FAILING TO RELEASE DATA ON STUDENTS SENT TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM FROM SCHOOLS
From: Sadye L. Campoamor [mailto:svassil@...]
Sent: Tuesday, April 09, 2013 2:20 PM
To: Sadye L. Vassil; Ursulina Ramirez
Subject: DE BLASIO SUES CITY FOR FAILING TO RELEASE DATA ON STUDENTS SENT TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM FROM SCHOOLS
We wanted to make sure you are aware of this. We are hoping that once we obtain the necessary data we can write a report and offer recommendations on how schools and the FDNY can improve and limit this practice. Overall, we are calling for mental health services in schools and more professional development for school staff.
If you know any parents and/or families who have been directly impacted by this policy, please let us know- and as always call or email with anything.
Thanks so much,
DE BLASIO SUES CITY FOR FAILING TO RELEASE DATA ON STUDENTS SENT TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM FROM SCHOOLS
After City refuses to explain why children were needlessly sent to hospitals for behavioral issues, Public Advocate sues for a full accounting
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 9, 2013
NEW YORK—Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is filing a lawsuit against the City in State Supreme Court today, demanding data on students who were sent to the emergency room because of behavioral problems at school. With inadequate mental health services provided by schools, more schools are resorting to 911 to deal with behavioral outbursts. As a result, thousands of children who should be treated or properly disciplined in a school setting are sent to the emergency room at their parents’ expense, clogging hospitals and traumatizing children in the process.
The Public Advocate’s lawsuit is an Article 78 action against the City for failure to comply with the New York City Charter in releasing documents to the Public Advocate’s Office. In July 2012, de Blasio requested information on the use of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in schools from 2005-2010, including the age, ethnicity and behavioral problem of each child, as well as the amount billed to parents after each incident. After the City failed to comply, de Blasio joined forces with Queens and Bronx Legal Services in their legal action to secure the information. Nine months later, the City has still failed to produce documents to the Public Advocate’s Office, prompting today’s suit.
“This is wasteful, hurtful and wrong. As a parent, I’d be furious if one of my kids was sent to an E.R. because the school didn’t know how to handle them. This is a disturbing reality for thousands of kids and parents—and it has to stop,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “Instead of opening the books to give a full accounting of how and why so many kids end up at the hospital, the City is circling the wagons and trying to hide the problem. We won’t rest until we get to the bottom of it so we can fix this.”
“We thank the Public Advocate for supporting the right of all New Yorkers to information about potential abuse of emergency medical services. Open and transparent government is particularly essential when the right of children to receive a sound public education is implicated,” said Tara Foster, Senior Staff Attorney at Queens Legal Services.
“As the parent of a special-needs child, it’s painful to think of my child or someone else’s going through this. We count on our schools to look out for our kids, but the shortage of mental health services means that schools are now outsourcing behavioral issues to 911. Sending a child to the E.R. for acting out punishes parents and hurts kids—it has to stop,” said Margarita Mendoza, board member of Make the Road New York.
Only about one-third of schools provide mental health services for students with behavioral issues, according to the Department of Education. The shortage of on-site mental health services has spurred administrators to call 911 when they are unable to handle a student’s behavioral issues. Between 2005 and 2010, the DOE made approximately 20,000 calls to the EMS—but the agency has refused identify the number of calls that resulted from behavioral issues.
Public Advocate de Blasio is being represented by attorney Jesse Strauss in the litigation.
Read the legal complaint: http://advocate.nyc.gov/EMS
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SADYE L. CAMPOAMOR
LEAD COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
NYC Office of the Public Advocate Bill de Blasio
1 Centre Street
[we all do better when we all do better]