SCHOOL VIOLENCE NUMBERS DECREASED IN 1999-2000
The number of incidents of school violence dropped 4.1 percent in the 1999-2000 school year, as compared to the 1998-99 year, according to a report released today.
The total number of violent acts decreased to only 5.98 acts per 1,000 students. This is down from 6.237 in 1998-99 and 6.343 in 1997-98.
- Decreases were seen in several categories:
- Possession of a firearm decreased by 37 percent, from 144 incidents to 87.
- Sexual assault decreased 18 percent from 233 to 190 incidents.
- Assault with an injury decreased 18 percent from 325 incidents to 267.
- Unarmed robbery was down 16 percent from 94 to 79 incidents.
Two of the most common offenses also decreased. These two categories, along with possession of a controlled substance, make up the majority of all acts reported.
- Possession of a weapon dropped by 7 percent from 2,923 to 2,726.
- Assault on personnel also decreased by 7 percent from 1,181 incidents to 1,097.
Possession of a controlled substance was one of only three incidents to increase, going up by 5 percent from 2,389 to 2,497. The number of sexual offenses increased 23 percent from 86 to 106 incidents reported. Assault with a weapon went up 6 percent from 146 to 155.
Elementary and middle schools showed the most improvements overall. School violence was down by 12.48 percent in K-5 schools. Middle schools, serving grades 6-8, showed a 5.17 percent decrease. High schools, however, increased overall by 4.72 percent.
One very positive trend is in the possession of firearms category. This crime, down 37 percent overall, decreased by 74 percent at the middle school level and 27 percent at the high school level. School officials pay particular attention to this particular indicator because of the critical nature of this crime.
Students identified as exceptional students were more likely to commit the nine highest incidence offenses. Exceptional children committed 61 percent of assaults on personnel, 43 percent of assaults with a weapon, 38 percent of sexual offenses and 32 percent of unarmed robberies, for example.
A total of 2,115 exceptional students were identified as offenders. For regular education students, that total was 5,375.
The incidents that are included in the annual school violence report are serious enough that 97.5 percent of them are reported to law enforcement. In terms of the consequences administered to student offenders, expulsions were on the decrease, but one-year suspensions increased by 8.3 percent. Placements in alternative learning programs or referral for treatment increased 4.2 percent.
State education officials also noted that schools seem to be improving the care and accuracy with which they gather and report the 14 acts of crime and violence that are required to be reported by the General Assembly and State Board of Education.
State Superintendent Mike Ward praised local schools for the improvements this report indicates.
"We know that the first order of business for local educators is to ensure that children are safe and that schools are orderly places that encourage learning. This report, now in its 7th year, shows that local school districts and schools are taking this challenge more seriously than ever."
State Board of Education Chairman Phillip J. Kirk Jr. said, "Local schools continue to be very, very safe places for our children. And, they are getting better every year. Schools are doing many things to improve safety, and parents and communities also are important partners in this process."
School safety is one of the State Board of Education's top five priorities and it is a key component of the First in America in Education by 2010 effort. In addition to several on-going efforts of the Board and Department of Public Instruction, the Board's 2001-03 biennial budget request includes $34 million in each year to increase funds for alternative school programs and additional support for at-risk students and other preventive efforts.
See the LEA chart (44kb Adobe Acrobat Document) to view the number of incidents by type and school district. (Requires Adobes free Acrobat Reader software in order to view or print.) Also available in html format for accessibility purposes.
For more information, please contact Marguerite Peebles, section chief, Instructional Support/Safe Schools, NC Department of Public Instruction, 919.807.3940.
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About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.
For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.