NYC Education Department Statistics Show Schools Called 911 a Whopping 3,600 Times Last year to Deal with Non-Suicide-Related Mental Health Problems

Marion Herbert's picture
Friday, June 29, 2012

Calls were more than a quarter of all 911 calls from schools. 17 students a day sent to the emergency room with emotional problems.

New York City schools are overusing the 911 emergency system to ship off emotionally troubled kids instead of trying to help them, advocates charge.

New Education Department numbers released Wednesday reveal that schools called 911 a whopping 3,600 times during the last school year to deal with non-suicide-related mental health problems. That means that 17 students a day were sent to the emergency room with emotional problems.

The calls were more than a quarter of all 911 calls from schools.

“These schools don’t have the resources to deal with students who are either having a bad day or having issues going on,” said Nelson Mar of Legal Services NYC - Bronx, which is suing the city for more data on the problem.

Third-grader Victoria Okezie, 9, who has ADHD, has been sent so many times to Lincoln Hospital that doctors there wrote a note saying the girl did not belong in the psych ER, her mother said.

But that didn’t stop Public School 161 in the Bronx from calling 911 again — and sending her to a new hospital, Bronx Lebanon.

“It’s an amount of stress I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy,” said mom Bola Okezie. “I feel very, very, very oppressed because this is a child that I love so well."

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