School violence report results for Lenape Regional High School District
By Katrina Grant
The Lenape Regional High School District released its annual report for violence, vandalism, weapons and substance abuse. The report encompasses all of the high schools in the district, Seneca, Lenape, Shawnee and Cherokee, and breaks the data up in each category.
The district saw a slight increase in violence, but a decrease in substance abuse, vandalism and weapons. There were a total of 128 incidents in the 2010/2011 year, up 3 from 125 incidents in 2009/2010. None of the incidents were gang related.
“We had a slight increase of three incidents,” James Kehoe, LRHSD security coordinator said. “We had an increase in our student population this year by 130 students, so I think that was part of it.”
Kehoe said that many of the violent incidents are because of fighting in school.
“I think social media has a lot to do with the fights in school,” Kehoe said. “The kids are going home and having issues with each other over social media sites and then confronting each other in school.”
With the issue of substance abuse, the district is trying to be more aggressive with how it handles the problem.
“We have been extremely proactive on how we’ve handled the substance abuse problems in the district,” Kehoe said. “We have Violence Awareness Week in the district, and this year we focused on substance abuse.”
The district also participates in the Defy the Issue program that helps to bring community involvement into the issue of substance abuse.
“The whole community has ownership of it,” Kehoe said. “We’ve developed a logo for it, the sports teams wear it, businesses display it, the youth groups use it. We also did an in-service training with the local police department.”
“We initially had a big increase in substance abuse incidents, but I think it was because the teachers knew what they were looking for,” Kehoe said. “The teachers are more knowledgeable about the signs, and they report the kids. The kids also know what to look for in their fellow students. If we stay proactive in the activities, it will lead to a decrease in substance abuse.”
The total number of violent incidents for the 2010/2011-year was 68, up from 50 in the previous year. No weapons were involved in the incidents.
The total number of vandalism incidents was five for the 2010/2011 school year, down from seven in the previous year. There no reports of bomb threats, one report of vandalism to district property less than $100, four reports of theft and no reports of vandalism to student property.
The total number of weapons incidents was one for the 2010/2011 year, down from six in the previous year. The incident was for possession of a knife, and no weapons were used for threats or assaults and there were no injuries.
The total number of substance abuse incidents was 54 for the 2010/2011 year, down from 63 in the previous year. The reports included 39 incidents of confirmed use, nine incidents of possession and six incidents of drug distribution.