Research Lab

What We Learned from Open Data on Bullying and Harassment in NYC Schools

Created by Two Sigma Data Clinic
Launch Project
Data Jam Education New York City Python

How I Started

How much of a problem is school bullying in NYC? The answer depends on who you ask. We compared local surveys (most students say bullying is happening) with federal data (most schools report 0 incidents), and talked with researchers, advocates, and journalists to better understand these disparities.

How I Built This

This project grew out of a company-wide Hack Day for Social Good event during which Two Sigma employees analyzed data from the federal Office for Civil Rights survey of public schools nationwide. In February 2018, we decided to submit an idea around comparing NYC Open Data assets with federal data sources for NYC Open Data Week 2018. It took us considerable time to create a crosswalk of school IDs between the two datasets (because schools are labeled differently in the NYC data than in the federal reporting), which we have provided as open data here ( We also used several other NYC Open Data assets, like the School Locations file, the Annual Enrollment Snapshots, and the Class Size reports, to examine whether schools with certain characteristics are more or less likely to report more bullying or to have disparities between the local and federal reporting. To add context to our quantitative analysis, for the event itself, we invited a panel of researchers, advocates, and other experts in the field of education to discuss the uses and limitations of the different datasets.

We used Python (pandas, statsmodels, scikit-learn) for the data processing, analysis, and modeling and R (dplyr, ggplot2) for the main visualizations. We stored files in the feather format ( to optimize compatibility between the two programming languages. The code for the analysis is open-sourced on GitHub here: and the write-up of our findings with our slides and video presentation is here:

Two Sigma Data Clinic @tsdataclinic

The Data Clinic is Two Sigma's pro-bono data science and technology for social good initiative. Founded in 2014, the Data Clinic provides analytical and strategic support that enables socially beneficial but resource-constrained organizations do what they do best – try to better the world.