Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Other crime statistics for schools

"The Center for the Prevention of School Violence has gathered information concerning the procedures which are being used across the United States to track school violence incidents. This review was prompted by President Clinton's call for the creation of "an annual report card on school violence." Findings which reflect information from state departments of education or departments of criminal justice reveal that eight states are creating what can be described as detailed reports of school crime or violence, and eight states are keeping tracking of such crime and violence in less-detailed reports. Thirty-four states do not have reporting systems except those required by the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994.

The eight states which are creating detailed reports are: Alabama; California; Delaware; Florida; North Carolina; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; and Virginia. Table One provides information concerning the contents of these reports. The titles of the reports indicate different emphases in these states with four using "violence" in some way, three using "crime," two using the notion of safety ("safe schools" and "safety"), one using "conduct," and one each specifying "weapon possession" or "substance abuse."

The current reporting processes which exist in these states date back to 1990 in South Carolina. As Table One presents, the states collect data on 'offenses,' 'incidents,' or 'crimes' in anywhere from four categories to twenty-six.

Details concerning offenders and victims vary across the states as do details concerning the incidents themselves and the consequences associated with the acts which occur. One state, North Carolina, gathers specific information concerning strategies the schools are using 'to combat crime and violence.' " (Taken from http://www.ncdjjdp.org/cpsv/library/usincident.htm)

Shay's notes: Translation: some states are doing just the bare minimum required by Federal Law and others are actually going above and beyond, to varying degrees.

The result of this is that is is impossible to make a state-by-state comparison of school crime statistics. It is like comparing apples to oranges. (Which is the idea, I am sure. No one can say, "My school district is better than yours" if there are no stats.)

Now let's see what else we find:

According to The report by the Department of Justice (you can read all 78 pages here: http://www.ncdjjdp.org/cpsv/library/usincident.htm), from January 1990 to February 28th, 2002, there were 1055 incidents of bombs being placed on school premises (not just threats - actual bombs being placed on school property). Of those 1055 incidents, only 14 were preceded by a threat. Only 14. In the same report, it is said that only 5-10 percent of threats involved real bombs. (Of course, no one knows which ones are fake or real until thoroughly investigated.)

Shay again - this scares the heck out of me.....we are not talking about a few isolated incidents. This is a widespread problem!

I'd rather have my kids home and safe, thank you very much, getting a tailor-made, superior education - with me.


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