Reported incidents of violence and vandalism in the Galloway Township School District are drastically down this year, although School Board Vice President George Schwenger believes it’s at least partially because faculty in the district understands the Harassment Bullying and Intimidation (HBI) legislation more than they did last year.
According to the Violence and Vandalism report presented at the board meeting Monday night, Feb. 11, at the middle school, the district has not spent any money dealing with vandalism because there have been no incidents of that type during the first half of the school year. Last year, there was one incident in the first half of the year and one in the second. The district also has not had to deal with substance abuse, as there were no incidents in the first half of the year, compared with two last year.
Only one weapon has been confiscated this year. That number is cut in half from last year’s report.
However, the most drastic drop was in the category of violence. During the first half of the 2011-12 school year, there were 45 report of violent incidents, and 44 in the second half. During the first half of this school year, there were only six violent incidents.
“I’m glad to see we’re not over reporting,” Schwenger said. “In the beginning, we weren’t sure what to report. Children will call children names.”
The HIB law was enacted in 2011, and the guidelines weren’t clear. Initially, anything investigated by the district as HIB needed to be included in the reports, including any incident reported by a third party in which the alleged victim denies any bullying was taking place.
This is the second year of the HIB reporting, and the first time the report is split in two halves, per state mandate. Monday night’s report covered every incident between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31. The next report will cover the rest of the year.
Other statistics from Monday night’s report:
- One police complaint was filed in the first half of the year, as opposed to five last year;
- There were two in-school suspensions, as opposed to 26 last year;
- There were seven out-of-school suspensions, as opposed to 18 last year;
- There were 32 student offenders and 30 student victims. The discrepancy may be due to a fight between two students.