School safety report offers mixed results

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A new report from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction shows a 4.8 percent drop in the number of crimes reported in schools statewide and offers some insight on how safe our kids are in the Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools and Edgecombe County Public Schools systems.

In Nash-Rocky Mount, the overall rate of incident reports increased a little in 2012-13 to 5.562 acts for every 1,000 students in the school system. That’s up just a bit from 5.511 in 2011-12. Nash-Rocky Mount’s 2012-13 rate was the 26th best among 115 school systems 
statewide.

In Edgecombe County, the overall rate of incidents dropped in 2012-13 to 8.032 acts for every 1,000 students in the school system. Edgecombe County Public Schools had a rate of 8.307 acts for every 1,000 students in 2011-12.

While the improvement in Edgecombe is commendable, the system’s rate of incidents still ranks 86th in the state. Only 29 systems had a higher incident rate last year than Edgecombe County Public Schools.

Wilson County had a 2012-13 rate of 9.751 acts per 1,000 students. Halifax County had a rate of 11.157 acts for every 1,000 students. Pitt County had a rate of 7.230 acts per 1,000 students.

The report broke the acts into different categories – possession of weapons; assaults; possession of controlled substances or alcohol; plus more serious offenses such as rape, kidnapping and death.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg was the only system last year that reported a death at one of its schools.

Nash-Rocky Mount had 27 reports of possession of weapons, four of which were firearms. Edgecombe County had 18 reports of possession of weapons, one of which was a firearm.

The opportunity for a quality education is critically important to the life of a community, but so is personal safety. We appreciate the efforts of teachers, administrators, resource officers and other law enforcement groups in our area. Students can hardly be expected to learn if they fear other classmates.