State Report Shows a Decrease in School Violence: National Studies Differ

PITTSBURGH, Pa.—Results from a safety report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education show that school violence may be declining in the state’s 501 school districts, but not on a national level.

The annual School Safety Report reveals a decrease in incidents involving firearms, burglaries and various types of racial and ethnic intimidation and harassment. The study shows the district reported 1,464 fewer incidents than last year. Included in the results are the state’s intermediate units, vocational technical schools and charter schools.

Concerns that the data may be misleading are being voiced by other organizations that study school violence. Although the report points to a drop in crime in Pennsylvania schools, according to National Safety and Security Services in Cleveland, nationally, there has been an increase in school violence. The agency asserts that school violence is merely under-reported.

Consistent with the views of the organization, the ten schools that the state report identified as a perpetual problem are all in Philadelphia. A national survey by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network also recently showed that almost all of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students they polled experienced physical, verbal and sexual harassment at school.

School administrators are responsible for reporting incidents of violence and other dangerous activity to the Department of Education, but according to other studies, that data may not be an accurate reflection of crime in all schools.

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