Incidents of violence in New Jersey public schools increased about 7.3 percent over a three-year period, from 10, 617 incidents to 11,213 during the past school year, according to an annual report by acting education commissioner Chris Cerf to the Senate and Assembly education committees.
The number of actual assaults, however, went down about 8 percent, from 3,437 to 3,161.
What accounts for the increase in violence? Harassment, intimidation, bullying, and threats, known as HIBT incidents, have risen dramatically since the 2009-2010 school year, from 2,846 to 3,412, or nearly 20 percent. Children in grades 7-8 (33 percent) and 9-10 (24.6 percent) were responsible for most of the HIBT incidents. Fights (4,043), criminal threats, (263), robbery/extortion (82), and sex offenses (252) were also on the rise, but not at such a high rate.