Are Schools Safe?


By Melvin Adams


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


Volume 1 Issue 2 - The Renewanation Review