1,183,700 violent school crimes; Only 303,900 reported to police

Posted by on April 24, 2012

Civil rights special interest groups and the Obama Administration claim police and school officials are creating a “school-to-prison-pipeline” where students are being needlessly arrested. But one recent report, using Education and Justice Department data, suggests schools are actually covering up violent crimes from the police.

“The Department of Education and the Department of Justice say that  1,183,700 violent crimes were committed at American public schools  during the 2009-2010 school year, but that only 303,900 of these violent  crimes were reported to the police,” according to an April 23rd cnsnews.com story.

The story notes that by the government’s own estimates, more than 879,000 violent crimes in the 2009-2010 school year were not reported to police.

For two decades, I have been outspoken about the underreporting of school crimes. I testified to Congress on the issue in 2007 and again in 2009. I wrote an entire chapter on the topic of the “politicks” of school safety and underreporting in my newest book.

Critics and those in our profession who talk out of both sides of their mouths for years have suggested that talking about the underreporting of school crime is “alarmist” and that violent school crime is actually going down. While it is nice to see that some of them are changing their tunes (at least for today), the reality is this particular news story accentuates an old problem rather than discovering something groundbreaking.

But the interesting thing will be to see how the civil rights special interests, along with the Obama Administration officials who have distorted and skewed school safety policy and funding, try to reconcile the discrepancy of the higher number of overall violent crime versus the much smaller number of those violent crimes reported to police.

Even more interesting will be to watch how they will attempt to explain how so many violent school crimes go unreported to police yet, according to their rhetoric, there are more students being funneled into the “school-to-prison-pipeline” they have fabricated. If anything, the data presented in this news story suggests schools are covering up violence from the police — the exact opposite of what the civil rights activists, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice all falsely claim is occurring.

Ken Trump

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4 thoughts on “1,183,700 violent school crimes; Only 303,900 reported to police

  1. Andres Durbak says:

    Ken: Thank you, again, for sounding the alarm about this continuing problem of underreporting of crimes in schools.
    People ignore the well known fact that victimization is the precursor of violent offending, and the inevitable arrest, prosecution and incarceration.  So, that “schoolhouse to jailhouse track” starts with student victimization. The reduction of victimization is of paramount importance, and that won’t happen if the problem continues to be covered up.

The gross underreporting of crimes in schools is nothing more than cowardly avoidance of the difficult decisions and actions that are needed to abate this climate of violence and disorder that keeps millions of students from reaching their full potential.  Failure to expose, confront and resolve this problem will only perpetrate this current, dismal, state of affairs.  
    My own personal experience showed that at one large school district, only 4% of all disciplinary actions also resulted in an arrest.  Of those disciplinary actions for violations of the school code of conduct with equivalent violations of criminal laws, only 11% also resulted in arrests.  There was a gross injustice perpetrated upon the student and staff victims of crimes in that school district. The laws intended to protect them and ensure justice were, for the most part, ignored.    

    1. Ken Trump says:

      Thanks, Andy. Well-stated, as always.

      I find it interesting how the special interest groups want school officials to be aggressive witih bullying incidents but passive about violent crime. There is certainly a mixed message and inconsistency there.

      Those of us who have been around this block many times know what is around the corner. These trends are cyclical and given current policies and funding (or lack of), political correctness trends, and special interest pandering by the Obama Administration, it is ripe for another Columbine (or worse) any day. Meanwhile, the push-back via litigation on school safety issues appears to be steadily increasing.

  2. John A. says:

    In NYS this underreporting is in direct violation of State Ed law, Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting and as of July 1, 2012 the Dignity for All Students Act. Thank you for calling attention to this long time problem. I agree with Andy that if we continue underreporting incidents of violence or harrassment etc., we in no way help to reduce student victimization! In our district we have a Youth Court option for first time offenders that has helped me to “sell” the law enforcement option to administration.

  3. Chuck Hibbert says:

    As we’ve seen in the past; if you acknowledge a problem then you must do something about it. With the cuts at the federal level for funding to do proactive school safety outreach, then the USDOE must continue with the school crime is done mantra. Otherwise, they have a duty to act. Sad, and dangerous for students and staff at both public and non-public schools.

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