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District Reports Show Slowed Increase In Violence At N.C. Schools

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Crimes and violent incidents at North Carolina schools increased by about 3 percent last year, according to an annual state report released Wednesday.

The schools reported 10,107 acts of violence in the 2004-05 year, or 7.48 acts per thousand students, compared to 9,800 reports, or 7.37 per thousand, in the 2003-04 school year.

It was a significantly lower rise than the 14.6 percent increase reported in 2003-04 and the first numerical increase from the 9,921 acts reported in 2001-02.

That was the first year in which districts were required to report 17 types of infractions, instead of the 14 required from 1997-98 to 2000-01.

Marvin Pittman, director of the Middle Grades Division of the Department of Public Instruction, presented the report during a meeting of the State Board of Education.

He acknowledged that the annual report, compiled from information provided by schools, has been criticized for discrepancies with data collected by local law enforcement agencies.

"I can't stand before you and say that every school district has turned in every act of violence in their system. It is self-reported," he said.

DPI officials can, if requested, do reviews of randomly chosen districts and report any significant differences between their data and reports by local law enforcement, Pittman said. The top five infractions reported by schools in 2004-05 were:

  • Possession of a controlled substance in violation of the law: 3,991 offenses.
  • Possession of a weapon excluding firearms and powerful explosives: 3,589.
  • Possession of alcoholic beverages: 849.
  • Assault on school personnel not resulting in serious injury: 848.
  • Assault resulting in serious injury: 182.
  • The school district that reported the most offenses was Wake County, with 1,361 acts in an average daily student body of 113,452, or 11.6 per thousand students. The most reports involved possession of a weapon (454), followed by possession of a controlled substance (412).

    The highest number of acts per thousand -- 15.6 -- was reported in Warren County, where 47 acts were reported in an average daily population of 3,011 students. Possession of a weapon (21), possession of alcohol (10) and possession of a controlled substance (nine) made up the majority of the reports.

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