Most Pennsylvania Students Learning in Safe Schools, Annual Safety Report Shows

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The following is a press release from the Pennsylvania Department of Education regarding an annual report which states that a vast majority of schools within the state are considered to be safe places to learn.

The vast majority of Pennsylvania’s public school students continue to attend schools that are safe places to learn, according to the Department of Education’s latest annual school safety report.

The report shows less than 4 percent of students statewide were involved in incidents of misconduct during the 2006-07 school year and 12 Pennsylvania schools – less than 1 percent of all public schools in the state – were considered “persistently dangerous” due to safety-related incidents.

“Safe and secure classrooms and schools are critical to a quality education,” Education Secretary Gerald L. Zahorchak said. “While we always will have to be diligent in ensuring that our schools are safe, the latest statistics show schools are, for the most part, doing a solid job of creating and maintaining a quality environment for learning.”

The 82,267 total reported incidents in 2006-07 involved 67,088 offenders – – or 3.7 percent of all Pennsylvania students. Nearly one-third of the incidents reported were classified by schools as violations of the student code of conduct, meaning they were non-violent incidents that did not rise to the level of any other reportable offense.

Zahorchak said a transparent system for collecting and disseminating safety data is critical for parents, students and educators. Data in the annual safe schools report can be a vital tool to help schools assess their safety standards and make any needed changes to bolster safety.

The secretary also credited local school officials with doing a more conscientious and thorough job of reporting than ever before. The Department of Education has worked closely with schools in recent years to improve the reporting of safety information, including upgrades to the online reporting system, clarification of reporting categories and outreach efforts to improve compliance.

The Department of Education is committed to working with schools and families to provide a safe learning environment for all children through a statewide resiliency and wellness approach. The department offers numerous resources, including an annual Safe Schools Conference, the Student Assistant Program, bullying prevention training and other initiatives.

The school safety report, published annually since the 1995-96 school year, represents all safety information submitted by Pennsylvania’s 501 school districts, 29 intermediate units, 83 career and technology centers and 135 charter schools.

The full report, including statistics for each of the state’s school districts, can be found at www.safeschools.state.pa.us. Resources for promoting safer schools also can be found at www.pde.state.pa.us or at www.center-school.org, the Center for Schools & Communities.


Pennsylvania Department of Education Aug. 22, 2008 press release

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