Acts of crime and violence grew by 18.1% in North Carolina’s public schools during the 2022-23 school year.
According to the last consolidated data report released by the state’s Department of Public Instruction, “there were 13,193 acts of crime and violence reported across the state,” last school year.
During the 2021-22 school year, 11,170 acts of crime or violence were reported.
Karen Fairley, executive director of the Center for Safer Schools, emphasized the correlation between community dynamics and school environments.
“We recognize that what goes on in our communities comes into our schools and vice versa,” Fairley said, according to NC Newsline.
Among the reported offenses, possession of a controlled substance was the most common, with 7,125 incidents recorded.
In fact, drug reports have increased by 54.8% over the last five years, Newsline reports.
Fairley attributed the increase partly to better security measures in local schools.
“When a school district uses preventive measures such as school resource officers, metal detectors and camera systems to prevent and detect crimes, it could impact statistics by making bad behavior more apparent, thus increasing the number of reportable offenses whereas before, behavior could go unnoticed by administrators,” Fairley said.
The report also reveals a spike in suspension rates.
Last year, there were 64 expulsions, up from 48 the preceding year.
In addition, 708 long-term suspensions and 247,454 short-term suspensions were reported, a 2% increase from the previous year.
The average rate of in-school suspensions given was 170 per 1,000 students, according to the report.
Amid the bleak data on crime and violence, there was a positive trend in high school dropout rates, which fell to lowest point since 2014.
State Superintendent Catherine Truitt called the positive trend “promising.”