How violent are our school kids?
According to District figures, rates of violent incidents vary widely among academic regions.
One region counted enough serious incidents to merit transfer to a disciplinary school for one in every nine of its high-school students. Called the “Restructured Schools/EMO region,” it also reported 115 threats (verbal and written) by students in elementary school grades also worthy of a discipline assignment.
The fact that these are our youngest children, in Kindergarten through 5th grade, would seem to give the impression that such a high rate of threats would be unique among serious incidents. Except that assaults by elementary-school children make up the largest sect of any category. Schools reported more than 1,600 “Level 2” assaults from elementary school children, compared with 1,500 from high-schoolers.
Ironically, Philadelphia’s school district doesn’t really have schools into which troubled elementary school children – unless they’re diagnosed with a mental condition – can even be transferred into. So that would mean the schools themselves are addressing the behavioral health needs of these students. Are they?
Looking at these figures – which were shared with the Alternative Education Task Force as part of its charge to examine both disciplinary and non-disciplinary alternative school slots – open the door to lots of questions:
• Is the EMO/Restructured Schools region (with nearly 28,000 students) too big in size to handle all those problems?
• Is that region’s incidents commensurate with the behavioral supports the schools, students and staffs in that region receive?
• When a whopping 115 incidents in one region are verbal and written threats by elementary school students, isn’t that an indication that there’s an attitude problem somewhere? (Whether that “where” is the schools or the homes is another question)
While the EMO/Restructured Schools region (not be confused with the original Restructured Schools region) reported the most “serious/Level 2” incidents (1,854), it was followed by the East Region with 1,122. The fewest incidents (540) were reported from the Northwest Region, although percentage-wise, the Northeast fares well, with 773 incidents, but nearly 28,000 students.