Feds: Schools are safer

Schools are getting safer according to a new federal report. Violence, bullying and sexual harassment has declined, the survey found.

About 3 percent of students ages 12 to 18 said they were victims of crimes at school in 2014.schoolviolencephoto

“On college campuses, the number of sexual attacks more than doubled from 2001 to 2013,” reports CBS News. “There’s really no way to say whether those increases reflect an increase in actual forcible sex crimes or just that more people are coming forward and reporting them,” said Lauren Musu-Gillette, an author of the report.

I’d guess it’s an increase in reporting and a much broader definition of sexual assault.

Ken Trump of the National School Safety and Security Services thinks the numbers are fuzzy. “Federal and state stats underestimate the extent of school crime, public perception tends to overstate it and reality is somewhere in between,” he said in a presentation to the Education Writers Association national conference in Boston.

Araphahoe victim: Claire Davis dies

Claire Davis, the 17-year-old who was shot in the head during the Dec. 13 shooting at Arapahoe High School, died Saturday afternoon with her family at her side,” reports the Denver Post.

Claire Davis

Claire Davis (Provided by Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office)

The high school senior’s family posted a statement on Facebook:

“Although we have lost our precious daughter,” the family said, “we will always be grateful for the indelible journey she took us on over the last 17 years — we were truly blessed to be Claire’s parents. The grace, laughter and light she brought to this world will not be extinguished by her death; to the contrary, it will only get stronger.”

The family thanked the first-responders, school, sheriff’s office and others for their “extraordinary work” on Claire’s behalf.

Bullying: Crisis or panic?

Don’t panic about bullying, writes Nick Gillespie in the Wall Street Journal.

I have no interest in defending the bullies who dominate sandboxes, extort lunch money and use Twitter to taunt their classmates. But there is no growing crisis. Childhood and adolescence in America have never been less brutal. Even as the country’s overprotective parents whip themselves up into a moral panic about kid-on-kid cruelty, the numbers don’t point to any explosion of abuse. As for the rising wave of laws and regulations designed to combat meanness among students, they are likely to lump together minor slights with major offenses.

“Despite the rare and tragic cases that rightly command our attention and outrage,” things are getting better for children, Gillespie writes. In particular, school victimization rates are way down, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In 1995, 12 percent of students said they feared “attack or harm at school” That declined to 4 percent in 2009.

Twenty-eight percent of children said they were bullied in 2005, according to NCES. That rose to 32 percent in 2007, then returned to 28 percent in 2009. That’s not a raging epidemic, writes Gillespie, though “new anti-bullying laws and media campaigns might lead to more reports” in the future.

Bully, a documentary showing victimized children and ineffectual adults, opened yesterday. It’s a powerful, disturbing movie, writes LA Times reviewer Kenneth Turan.

In one scene, a school administrator tells a victim that he’s just as guilty as the bully because he was insincere when he accepted the bully’s insincere apology.


Unsafe at school

Walking from his Chicago high school to the bus stop, 16-year-old Derrion Albert was hit with a wood plank, punched and stomped to death by a mob of teenagers from rival neighborhoods.  Apparently, the honor student was attacked by both factions, police say. The attack was caught on video. Four teens have been arrested so far.

Fenger High School has reopened, reports the Chicago Tribune. But students fear more violence.

Many students were so afraid, they simply stayed home.

The ones who showed up were met by more than a dozen police officers standing sentry around campus and by squad cars positioned in the neighborhood announcing, by their mere presence, that they would guarantee safe passage to and from school.

. . . Nakia Fulton, a Fenger senior, said she too was nervous about attending school Monday.

“It wasn’t just that they beat him to death,” she said. “It’s that kids don’t know how to control themselves.”

Alexander Russo’s District 299 blog has links to stories on Albert’s murder.

I wonder if parent volunteers from both neighborhoods could be organized to patrol the route from the school to the bus stop.  These are their children.