Are Schools Safe?

As parents, one of the biggest concerns we have for our children is their safety.

We put locks on the doors of our homes and sometimes fences around our yards to keep dangerous predators out. We put guards on our TVs and computers to protect our children from stuff they should not see and hear (or we certainly should). We teach our children from the time they are babies to be careful of talking to strangers or taking candy or other tempting treats from people they don’t know. Why? We care about their safety.

In a conversation I had with a parent this week he told me how his teenage daughter had come to him begging not to have to return to a particular school. Surprised, he asked her why — since the school is known for its advanced learning programs and he had been happy to have her there. Her answer was simple: “I’m scared.” Her shocking stories and call for help stirred him to action. He removed her from the school and found a place where she would be safe.

Physical violence and the open practice of abusive and permissive behaviors allowed in many government schools have created an environment of dread and fear. One of the most significant reasons we hear from teachers and students who are “fleeing” to Christian schools is their need for safety.

This prompted me to do a little research. Looking for a tool that might be somewhat objective, I inquired how frequently incidents occurred in Roanoke schools where law enforcement was required because of incidents involving violence or criminal behavior. The numbers I found were for the 2007-2008 school year. (2008-2009 reports were not yet available from the public schools) I believe the results tell their own story.

Public Schools (28) Offenses

Battery against student- 325

Battery against staff- 109

Weapons or explosive devises- 84

Drug Violations- 33

Sexual Offenses- 8

Alcohol- 6

Arson- 3

Gang Activity- 2

Malicious wounding- 1

Sexual Battery- 1

Other offenses which do not necessarily constitute criminal behavior but were serious enough to be officially recorded:

Obscene language/gestures- 755

Classroom/campus disruption- 720

Defiance- 527

Attendance- 473

Disrespect- 317

Fighting without Injury- 268

Altercations- 242

Disruptive Demonstrations- 188

Bullying- 109

Harassment- 59

Obscene sexual literature- 31

Offensive sexual touching- 30

Sexual Harassment- 19

Tobacco- 12

 

Christian Schools (6) Offenses

Battery against student- none

Battery against staff- none

Weapons or explosive devises- none

Drug Violations- none

Sexual Offenses- none

Alcohol- none

Arson- none

Gang Activity- none

Malicious wounding- none

Sexual Battery- none

Other offenses which do not necessarily constitute criminal behavior but were serious enough to be officially recorded:

Obscene language/gestures- none reported

Classroom/campus disruption- none reported

Defiance- none reported

Attendance- none reported

Disrespect- none reported

Fighting without Injury- none reported

Altercations- none reported

Disruptive Demonstrations- none reported

Bullying- none reported

Harassment- none reported

Obscene sexual literature- none reported

Offensive sexual touching- none reported

Sexual Harassment- none reported

Tobacco- none reported

While this comparison is not scientific and I’m confident does not reflect with 100 percent accuracy all that goes on in either public or private Christian schools since much activity surely goes on unreported, it does reflect the huge disparity in behavioral trends between public and Christian schools and gives a basic view of child safety in our schools.

That reality is compounded by news reports which have stated: “The Roanoke school system has been criticized for drastically under-reporting school crime incidents to the state Department of Education, a failure that is technically a violation of state law. It is currently working to correct data and educate its personnel on accurate reporting procedures.”

How about your child? What actions are you taking to ensure they are safe at school?

Data gathered from:

http://www.doe.virginia.gov/VDOE/Publications/Discipline/datacoll/07_annual_report.pdf
page VI and personal inquiry at schools.

http://rtonline1.roanoke.com/roatimes/news/story153589.html

By Melvin Adams