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State reports crime and violence statistics for UCPS drop to 4 year low

School resource officers are one of several important factors in reducing the number of reported offenses in schools. Pictured, are the three finalists in the 2012 UCPS School Resource Officer of the Year competition: (from left) Monroe Police Officer Monique Holt (D.A.R.E. and G.R.E.A.T. Programs); Union County Sheriff’s Deputy Jim Kennedy (Parkwood High School); and Monroe Police Officer Willie Kilgo (Monroe Middle School). Kennedy was named the 2012 UCPS School Resource Officer of the Year.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction recently released the annual Consolidated Data Report. The two areas in the report generating the most interest are the 2011-2012 Dropout Rate and the 2011-2012 Crime and Violence statistics.

The Consolidated Data Report announced that the Dropout Rate for Union County Public Schools had fallen to its lowest rate in the 20-year history of the system.

The Crime and Violence statistics for Union County Public Schools brought good news as well. The rate of total occurrences of the 17 reportable offenses has dropped to a four-year low, with 8.24 acts reported per 1,000 students.

State Superintendent June Atkinson said, “Students learn best in an environment where they feel safe and supported. It is gratifying to see these numbers continuing to decline and I encourage educators to continue their efforts to keep schools as safe as possible and to encourage positive student behavior.”

Although the state has just released the 2011-12 Crime and Violence statistics to the public, Central Office Staff presented the initial material to the Union County Board of Education in October of 2012. School systems are required to report the number of occurrences of 17 reportable offenses.

The reportable offenses are: assault resulting in serious injury, assault involving use of a weapon, assault on school personnel, bomb threat, burning of a school building, death by other than natural causes, kidnapping, possession of alcoholic beverage, possession of controlled substance, possession of firearm, possession of a weapon, rape, robbery with a dangerous weapon, robbery without a dangerous weapon, sexual assault, sexual offense, and taking indecent liberties with a minor.

The Consolidated Data Report helped to highlight success in three areas of recent focus: possession of controlled substance, possession of alcoholic beverage and bomb threats. Each of these areas have seen the number of occurrences drop to the lowest rate in at least five years. In the area of possession of controlled substance, there were 29 fewer incidents last year than there were just four years ago. The number of incidents in this area has decreased yearly since the 2008-2009 school year.

Deputy Superintendent Mike Webb oversees the Safety and Security Department and the Support and Prevention Department. “We believe that UCPS has been successful in reducing the criminal and/or violent behaviors associated with these acts on our campuses through our work with our law enforcement partners, our school level administrators, our counselors and our teachers,” Dr. Webb said. “It takes a concerted effort by all involved to ensure our campuses remain safe and secure for our students and staff.”

Union County Public Schools uses the information provided by the yearly Consolidated Data Report on school crime and violence to help sharpen its focus on challenging issues, as well as aid in the development of proactive solutions. Two additional areas of focus over the last three school years have been assault resulting in serious injury and sexual assault. Based on the results reported by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, UCPS has reduced the number of these acts committed in the schools, even as the school system has experienced continued growth in the student population each year.

The two areas with the highest number of acts occurring continue to be possession of a controlled substance and possession of a weapon. Weapons involve a wide number of items including air pistols, razor blades and knives. The most common weapon reported in Union County Public Schools is a knife. The state definition of a knife is broad and includes small pocket knives, a tool often found in rural areas.

The 2011-12 Consolidated Data Report results show that the efforts of UCPS students, parents, staff, administrators, School Resource Officers, law enforcement partners, and community agencies are making a difference in reducing the numbers of incidents of reportable offenses.

Keeping the schools safe is a job that is never done. “We will be diligent to provide for the safety and security of our students and staff,” stated UCPS Superintendent Dr. Mary Ellis. “In the Union County Public Schools system, their safety is our foremost concern.”

Written by: Rob Jackson, Community Relations and Communications Liaison
Posted: Feb 05, 2013 by Rob Jackson

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