Local News

Report: School violence up slightly in N.C.

Posted March 5, 2009 10:40 a.m. EST
Updated March 6, 2009 12:13 p.m. EST

— The number of crimes and violent acts committed in North Carolina schools last year rose by 1 percent, according to a report released Thursday.

Schools reported 11,276 crimes and violent acts during the 2007-08 school year, up from 11,013 the year before. The crime rate per 1,000 students went from 7.77 in 2006-07 to 7.85, according to the report.

Violent crimes went down by 3.6 percent last year and accounted for 3.8 percent of all school crimes, the report said. Drug possession, alcohol possession and possession of weapons other than firearms or explosives accounted for 85 percent of the school crimes reported last year.

The report for the first time consolidated data on school violence with information about suspensions and dropouts.

"We know that there often is a relationship between crime and violence incidents, suspensions and expulsions and high school dropouts," Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said in a statement. "By consolidating the reports that look at each area, we hope that we can better understand how to efficiently address student needs and help more students stay in school and be successful. It is important for all education leaders to examine our policies to be sure none of them have the unintended consequence of encouraging students to drop out."

Officials said there were few statewide patterns in the three areas, other than the fact that ninth-grade boys are at highest risk for dropping out, being suspended or expelled and for committing crimes or violent acts at school.

Expulsions jumped 14 percent last year, and long-term suspensions – suspensions of 11 days or more – increased by 10 percent, the report said. Meanwhile, short-term suspensions edged down by 1 percent.

About 5 percent of North Carolina high school students dropped out last year.