During the second half of the 2012-2013 school year, Mahwah saw fewer incidents of violence, substance abuse, and bullying than it did during the first half. However, vandalism is on the rise in Mahwah schools, according to the Violence, Vandalism and Bullying report new district Superintendent Lauren Schoen gave at a Board of Education meeting Wednesday night.
The district is now required to report twice each year on the number of incidents its schools faced. Wednesday night, Schoen presented the statistics for January through June of this year, the second reporting period, and compared them with the results of the first reporting period, September through December 2012.
When looking at the district as a whole, she said, most of the reporting categories showed a decrease in activity between the two periods.
The number of incidents of violence district-wide went down from nine to six, weapons went down from two to zero, substance abuse from 19 to nine, and bullying from 12 to 10.
The only area to show an increase was vandalism, which spiked from 30 incidents in the fall to 44 in the spring.
While most of the spring’s incidents overall – 59 of a total 69 – occurred at Mahwah High School, Schoen pointed out that the other schools in the district are not immune to some of the more serious activities on the list. For example, she said, Betsy Ross had two incidents overall during the period. Both were instances of vandalism, one on a fence near the school and one on a sign.
The severity of the incidents overall in the district seemed to be on the decline, though, based on the response necessary from the district.
Schoen reported that between the first and second halves of the year, police notifications of school incidents went down from 17 to 5, in-school suspensions were down from 10 to seven, out-of-school suspensions down from 27 to 13, and suspensions of privileges down from 10 to four.
Schoen acknowledged that some of the key areas showed significant decreases during the second half of the school year, but said that it is difficult to pinpoint exactly why.
“We would hope that kids are learning from their mistakes…[and] from what is going on in the schools in terms of [bullying and other incident prevention],” she said.