THE BRONX - Public schools saw a rise in sexual and other complaints against staff, according to a new report from the city's special commissioner of investigation.

Students and their parents filed 2,818 complaints in 2007, compared to 2,552 in 2006. The 10 percent increase represents the highest number of complaints filed in the agency's history.

According to the report, sexual misconduct complaints made up 22 percent of all grievances. The number increased more than 7 percent from 576 in 2006 to 619 in 2007. Allegations of inappropriate relationships, criminal acts and physical or verbal harassment of a sexual nature has parents on edge.

"It's a shame that it's going up, but something needs to be investigated so that it won't happen in the future," says concerned parent Manuel Irizarry.

The Department of Education maintains the increase in complaints shows that students are aware and are more comfortable alerting authorities about inappropriate behavior.