The New Jersey Department of Education released the Commissioner’s Annual Report to the Education Committees of the Senate and General Assembly on Violence, Vandalism and Substance Abuse in New Jersey Public Schools for the 2014-15 School Year earlier this week. The report showed that incidents of violence and bullying are down, while anti-bullying programs have increased. The findings were based on self-reported data by school districts that tracked cases of violence, vandalism, weapons or substance offenses and harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB).
Among the report findings:
- There was a 4 percent drop in the overall number of reported incidents (18,332) from the previous year.
- HIB incidents dropped 5 percent.
- Districts provided 20,725 programs, mostly aimed at students, to reduce HIB incidents, compared to 17,729 programs the year before and 13,718 programs in the 2012-13 school year.
- Districts offered 14,810 HIB trainings, mostly to staff, compared to 14,473 in 2013-14 and 11,199 in 2012-13.
- Fights, the most commonly reported violence, increased 3 percent.
- Among the 1,036 weapons incidents, sharp objects like knives were the most commonly reported. Six handgun incidents also were reported.