Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Safe Schools Report for 2009-10

Good News
but not for all

Disciplinary Actions
almost 21% in 5 Years

The 11th Annual Safe Schools Data Project Report for the 2009-10 academic year is out and the news is generally good.

The number of disciplinary actions for the 2009-2010 school year decreased 9.2% (or 6,045 actions) from the 2008-2009 total and 20.8% (or 17,564 actions) from the 2005-2006 total.

This decline is particularly encouraging because it represents a continuous decline over the past five years.

Kentucky’s total public school population for 2009-2010 was 644,963 students. Of that total, 40,721students (6.32%) committed an offense that resulted in an out-of-school suspension or an expulsion (with or without services).

The categories showing the biggest change from 2008-2009 were failure to attend detention (with 34.8% decrease), profanity or vulgarity (an 18.2% decrease), tobacco violations (a 17.7% decrease), disturbing class (a 14.5% decrease), defiance of authority (a 10.1% decrease), and other Board Violations (an 11.3% decrease). Inappropriate sexual behavior (a 7.2% decrease) and dangerous instruments - carrying or using (a 6.6% decrease) also decreased from 2008-2009 levels.

Disciplinary actions for defiance of authority and inappropriate sexual behavior have remained relatively stable over the five-year period while threat/ intimidation (10.4%) has increased substantially over the past five years.

The Kentucky Safe Schools Data Project reflects federal and state guidelines for gathering outcome data in Kentucky’s schools. Each year, the data report has been considerably enhanced into the rich and informative product that we are now able to present to each district. The resulting database is reported to the Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky Center for School Safety for analysis.

But not all of the news is good.

This from WDRB Fox 41:
When it comes to students breaking the rules and the law, a new report shows JCPS leads all public schools in Kentucky.

Jefferson County Public Schools recorded 15,000 suspensions last year alone.
But one official told Fox 41's Jennifer Baileys that the report isn't exactly fair.
"Drug trafficking would be a suspendable offense," said Jack Jacobs, a spokesperson for JCPS. "Certain bullying offenses would be a suspendable offense. Different aggressive or violent behavior would be a suspendable offense."

In just the last five years, those types of suspendable violations have increased at Jefferson County Public Schools. According to a new report by the Kentucky Center For School Safety: From 2005 to 2010, disciplinary actions or suspensions have increased 19.5 percent. It also states JCPS had the highest rate for suspensions related to breaking the law.

"I feel like the numbers are accurate in the report, and I was not surprised by any of the numbers," Jacobs said.

But Jacobs says the report may not exactly be fair. JCPS, the largest school district in the state with 100,000 students, is compared to other, much smaller schools in Kentucky.

"If you compare a school district like ours with 100,000 students, and you compare it nationally to other school districts similarly, our numbers are lower," Jacobs said. Across the country, drugs are a growing problem. At JCPS, it's the worst in the state. According to the report, over the last five years, drug use and possession at JCPS increased almost 20 percent. Statewide, drug use at public schools increased 3.3 percent. Jacobs says the district is fighting the problem.

"We have a safe school division that we have counselor and assessment coordinators at," he said.

"What are they doing to lower these numbers?" Fox 41's Jennifer Baileys asked.

"What the board suspension means or the board violation means is that we have more services in place than a lot of school districts do," Jacobs replied.

Jacobs says that means sometimes a board violation is not a bad thing: it provides students with the help they need.

"I think that Jefferson County Public Schools, we focus a lot on safety and we want safe schools and we do address issues that would pertain to safety and I felt like the numbers were indicative of that," he said.

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