City officials working with Noel Estevez and his family knew they were worried about his safety at I.S. 117, though school officials didn’t have a clear picture of those concerns, according to a report released Wednesday by the Special Commissioner of Investigation’s office.
The report followed the death of Timothy Crump outside I.S. 117 in the Bronx, where fellow student Noel Estevez allegedly stabbed Crump during an altercation. Several media reports said that Estevez was bullied and harassed by Crump both in school and outside of his home.
Based on interviews of 22 school staff members and safety agents, investigators said they were unable to say if teachers and staff at I.S. 117 could have done more to head off the violence, largely because both students barely attended school. Crump had been suspended for nearly four months “and rarely came to school thereafter.” And Estevez had just returned to school in June after missing a large chunk of the year because he was in a psychiatric center.
The school’s principal and assistant principal both said they were unaware that Estevez was a victim of bullying, and that the boy’s father had never requested a safety transfer, as was previously reported. But a case worker with the Administration for Children’s Services said Estevez’s mother had requested a safety transfer and had gone to a local precinct for a police report, which she said she was denied because Estevez hadn’t been involved in a specific incident.
The report paints a picture of city and school officials with pieces of conflicting information that weren’t always shared, and a situation that Estevez’s long absences made more difficult to assess. Estevez told an ACS worker who visited when he was home from school one day that he was being harassed, and an aunt told a school worker who visited the home at another point that “he is being harrassed in the school by some students.” But teachers and school safety agents said they had no knowledge of bullying.
The investigators were not able to speak with members of Estevez’s family during the investigation, though.
Department of Education spokeswoman Devora Kaye said that the incident prompted the city to bring “a renewed focus on how we address mental health and safety of our students—both inside our schools and in their communities,” which includes improving communication between the Department of Education, NYPD, and ACS.
Read the full report here: