New Department of Public Instruction report details crime, dropout rates in NC schools

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The number of reportable crimes in North Carolina schools has slightly dropped while the number of sexual offenses and possession of firearm cases have increased, according to a newly released report from the Department of Public Instruction.

The findings are going to be presented to the General Assembly.

The data looks at crime cases, suspensions, dropout rates and other areas for the 2017-2018 school year.

Read the full report here.

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Reportable crimes

The number of reportable crimes dipped by two percent and were most frequently committed by ninth-grade male students.

Sexual offenses increased by 48.9 percent. There were 23 cases.

Possession of a firearm cases went up 21.9 percent. There were 23 in total.

The most frequently reported crimes were possession of a controlled substance, followed by possession of a weapon excluding a firearm and powerful explosive. Alcohol possession was the third most reported crime.

Suspensions

Short-term suspensions for grades 9-13 slightly decreased.

One of the districts reporting the lowest rate of grade 9-13 short-term suspensions was Chapel Hill-Carrboro.

Districts with the highest rate of grade 9-13 short-term suspensions include Wilson, Pitt and Vance counties.

Expulsions and dropout rates

The number of expulsions increased by 33.3 percent. Twenty-four students were removed from schools in 2017-18.

The dropout rate decreased by 5.6 percent.

Districts reporting the lowest high school dropout rate included Chapel-Hill-Carrboro and Pitt counties.

Durham and Wilson counties are among those reporting the highest dropout rates.

ABC11 spoke to former Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison about the newly-released report.

Harrison sat on the governor's school safety task force last year, which was formed in the aftermath of the high school massacre in Parkland, Florida. He was not surprised by the new North Carolina numbers but is concerned with the cases not being reported to police -which he said happened "quite a bit" while he was sheriff.

"We've got to support our teachers more. They're afraid sometimes to say anything; afraid they're going to violate somebody's rights or get in trouble; that somebody's going to say they've got a bad school because they reported a gun on campus or drugs in school," Harrison said.

The North Carolina Association of Educators is pushing to make schools safer with more teacher support, more mental health workers in schools, and lessons about students' civic responsibility.
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