REVISED SCHOOL VIOLENCE NUMBERS LOWER THAN ORIGINAL COUNT; 31 PERCENT INCREASE FOR 2001-02
The revised 2001-02 Annual Report on School Crime and Violence shows that there were 9,921 total incidents of crime and violence on public school campuses in 2001-02. This is a drop of 1,030 incidents from the original report. The total number of incidents in the final report reflects a 31 percent increase for 2001-02. However, slightly more than half of the increase is due to three new reportable offenses included in the report for the first time this year. The total number of acts per 1,000 students is 7.709, up from 6.085 in 2000-01.
The numbers released today are revised from an earlier report issued in November. The November report was found to include errors in data reporting and keying. Since then, each local school district has double-checked its reported numbers and additional data analyses have been done at the state level to assure greater accuracy.
The three new reportable offenses included in the 2001-02 report are bomb threats, possession of alcoholic beverages and burning of school buildings. If these acts are excluded for comparison purposes, the total number of acts increased from 7,565 in 2000-01 to 8,728 in 2001-02. The acts per 1,000 students figures increased from 6.085 to 6.780 when considering only the original 14 acts that have been reported for the past five years.
Although the revised report reflects a smaller increase, State Superintendent Mike Ward said that he still intends to meet with local superintendents as part of the 2003 Safe Schools Conference in February to explore reasons for increases in the crime and violence figures. The Safe Schools conference is an annual event that provides training and recognition for work underway to improve school safety. Local school districts already incorporate goals for improving school safety in their Safe Schools Plans, which must be submitted to the Department of Public Instruction at the end of the year. In addition to these efforts, DPI and other partnership organizations also sponsor and support a variety of training efforts.
"It is essential that students feel safe and secure at school," Ward said. "We need to build stronger partnerships among schools, families and communities to keep every child safe at school. Any amount of crime or violence in our schools is too much."
State Board of Education Chairman Phil Kirk noted that, statistically, schools continue to be safe places, and yet, any amount of violence or crime in schools is troubling. "This year's increase in the number of acts per 1,000 students is a cause for concern. Although I understand schools are being more diligent in reporting every infraction, this is no consolation to students who are consistently good citizens and expect their peers to demonstrate the same respect for others."
As in previous years, three incidents continue to be the most numerous: possession of controlled substance in violation of law, assault on school personnel not resulting in serious injury, and possession of a weapon excluding firearms and powerful explosives. These three offenses accounted for 75 percent of all of the 17 categories of reported acts.
A total of 7,242 regular students and 2,473 exceptional students were identified as offenders in 2001-02. The victims of school crime included 900 staff members and 737 students. Six of the 17 reportable incidents do not involve direct victims because of the nature of the offense.
High schools accounted for approximately one-half of all the reported crimes and acts of violence, and middle schools reported more crimes than elementary schools did.
The total number of reported occurrences for each reportable act are listed below:
Possession of a controlled substance in violation of law3,329
Possession of a weapon excluding firearms and powerful explosives2,908
Assault on school personnel not resulting in serious injury1,281
Possession of alcoholic beverage922
Assault resulting in serious injury356
Sexual assault not involving rape or sexual offense275
Possession of a firearm or powerful explosives116
Robbery without a dangerous weapon111
Assault involving a weapon109
Burning of school building42
Taking indecent liberties with a minor21
Robbery with a dangerous weapon7
Death by other than natural causes1
Charts are attached to provide local school district numbers by incident type.
Table 6A. Total Number of Incidents/Acts for Each LEA (Charter Schools) (pdf, 67kb)
For more information, please contact Dr. Elsie Leak, associate superintendent for Curriculum and School Reform Services, 919.807.3759.
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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.