New Jersey’s school districts dealt with more than 26,000 incidents of violence, vandalism and bullying last year -- the first time the latter statistics were reported separately as part of the year-old new statewide anti-bullying law. That’s equivalent to almost two incidents affecting every 100 New Jersey students.
The report released from the state Department of Education includes data on incidents for all school districts. Because of the inclusion of bullying for the first time, the number of incidents statewide rose by more than half.
According to the report, 36 districts across the state – all of them with elementary students only -- had no incidents in five categories: violence; vandalism; harassment, intimidation and bullying; weapons use, sale or possession; substance use, sale or possession.
Not surprisingly, high school districts, including those with and without vocational schools, had among the highest rates of incidents compared with enrollment across New Jersey.
The highest rate of incidents – more than 10 per 100 pupils – was found in three South Jersey districts: Commercial in Cumberland, New Hanover in Burlington and Asbury Park in Monmouth. The largest number of total incidents of all kinds – more than 300 – were reported in three city districts: Elizabeth, Jersey City and Newark. Twenty districts, ranging from Pine Hill in Camden County to Parsippany in Morris County, reported more than 100 cases of bullying.
But because the law is new and all the data is self-reported by the districts, it’s unclear whether the data show full and accurate reporting or whether there were some errors.
All of the districts’ statistics for last year, as well as the 2010-11 totals and a comparison between the two years, are available on the maps.