The number of incidents of violence and vandalism reported in Montclair schools in 2011-12 was up by about 19 percent compared to the previous six years.
The district’s annual Violence and Vandalism Report was presented to the Board of Education at its Monday meeting by Assistant Superintendent Felice Harrison.
According to the Harrison, there were 45 incidents reported last year in Montclair schools, which were committed by 37 students -- 22 general education students and 15 special education students. Repairing the damaged property and graffiti, among other things, cost the district $1,641, according to the report.
The overall number of incidents last year is up from 31 in 2010-11. Between 2006 and 2011, the average number of incidents per year was about 38, with the highest reported number -- 51 -- in 2009-10.
While the number of incidents vacillates every year, Board member Norman Rosenblum suggested there appears to be “no clear pattern."
“There’s not more violence or vandalism as we go between 2006 to 2012,” said Rosenblum. “It is sort of sporadic -- one year might be high, the next year might be low. There doesn’t seem to be any general trend.”
Harrison agreed with Rosenblum, and said the reports of violence and vandalism each year was consistent rather than increasing.
“I like to always think it’s getting better,” said Harrison. “I think we have always had in place our social-problem ... conflict resolutions ... and we’ve evolved to have our one school, one community, one district [goal].
“I just think there is a lot of things we are doing proactively to help youngsters understand appropriate behavior and expectations.”
Synthetic marijuana is becoming more prevalent in Montclair schools, said Harrison.
“We are finding that students are using more of the synthetic marijuana and it is a serious issue because it is not harmless,” said Harrison.
In 2011-12, the district reported its highest number of drug related incidents, seven, in the past six years -- three of which involved synthetic marijuana, said Harrison.
According to the New Jersey Consumer Affairs website, synthetic marijuana has been available since 2006, and is sold under the names K2, Spice, Black Mamba, Blaze and Red X Dawn.
Synthetic marijuana is illegal in the state, and it is reported to be the third most abused drug by high school seniors, after marijuana and prescription drugs, according to the state.
There will be a form to discuss marijuana and synthetic blends in the coming months, said Harrison.
“We do have some things in place,” said Harrison, “and we take this very seriously. I really wasn’t sure what synthetic marijuana was all about, but I know that it is something our kids are unfortunately getting ahold of and we need to address it as quickly as possible.”
The following is the list of incidents reported in 2011-12. For the full report, listing incidents dating back to 2006-07 and a breakdown for incidents in each school, look in the photo gallery of this article.
- Simple assault: 3
- Aggravated assault: 1
- Criminal threat: 1
- Extortion: 1
- Harassment, intimidation and bullying: 4
- Fights: 4
- Threats: 3
- Kidnapping: 0
- Robbery: 0
- Sex offense: 0
- Arson: 0
- Bomb threat: 0
- Burglary: 0
- Damage to property: 12
- Fake bomb: 0
- Fire alarm offense: 0
- Fireworks offense: 0
- Theft: 2
- Trespassing: 1
- Weapon incidents: 6
- Use confirmed: 1
- Possession: 7
- Sale/distribution: 0
Total incidents: 45
Cost to district: $1,641