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NEWS RELEASES 2003-04 :: NOVEMBER 5, 2003


The 2002-03 Annual Report on School Crime and Violence shows that the state's school crime and violence numbers fell both in terms of total numbers and in the number of acts per 1,000 students. There were 8,548 reportable acts of crime and violence, a rate of 6.627 acts per 1,000 students statewide.

In 2001-02, there were 9,921 acts reported for a rate of 7.709 acts per 1,000 students.

State Superintendent Mike Ward noted that the decrease was a positive sign. "North Carolina public schools continue to be very safe places for students and their families, and I am pleased to see that the latest crime and violence numbers indicate that schools are becoming even safer."

State Board of Education Chairman Howard N. Lee said that safety had to be the first priority of every school. "Children and teachers require a safe environment in order for learning to take place. While our number one mission is student learning and achievement, the school environment must be safe in order for us to achieve that mission."

This is the second year that a total of 17 reportable acts were included in the report. In 2001-02, three additional offenses were included with the 14 that had been reported since the 1993 General Assembly approved the Safe Schools Act and required this annual report.

The four most frequently occurring incidents account for 88 percent of all reported acts of violence or crime on public school grounds. These are: possession of controlled substance in violation of the law (3,285); possession of a weapon excluding firearms and powerful explosives (2,748); assault on school personnel not resulting in serious injury (891); and possession of an alcoholic beverage (654).

Fifteen categories of incidents actually declined in number in 2002-03. The number of kidnappings remained the same at one. The number of rapes went up by one, totaling three in 2002-03.

The total number of occurrences for each reportable act are listed below:

Possession of a controlled substance in violation of law3,285

Possession of a weapon excluding firearms and powerful explosives2,748

Assault on school personnel not resulting in serious injury891

Possession of alcoholic beverage654

Assault resulting in serious injury211

Bomb threat196

Sexual assault not involving rape or sexual offense141

Possession of a firearm or powerful explosives113

Assault involving a weapon101

Sexual offense85

Robbery without a dangerous weapon70

Burning of school building38

Taking indecent liberties with a minor8


Robbery with a dangerous weapon3


Death by other than natural causes0

As in previous years, the number and frequency of acts is the lowest in elementary schools (grades K-5) and highest at the high school level. Forty percent of all schools reported no acts of crime or violence. Another 38 percent had five or fewer acts reported.

There were a total of 8,384 offenders identified in the report, with nearly all of them being students who attended school where the offense occurred. These offenses affected 1,071 victims.

Charts are attached to provide local school district numbers by type of act.

For more information, please contact Marvin Pittman, director, School Improvement, NC DPI, 919.807.3911, or email

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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.