The New Jersey Department of Education on Thursday released its annual Violence, Vandalism and Substance Abuse in the Schools Report for 2012-2013.
The report documents self-reported incidents of violence in each district. Overall, the total number of incidents (violence, bullying, etc.) in New Jersey schools plummeted by 19 percent from the previous year, led by a 36 percent drop in the number of bullying incidents reported.
Overall violence in New Jersey schools was down 4 percent year-over-year.
While school districts in cities such as Newark and Camden led the way in total number of incidents, there were many districts that had a higher ratio of incidents of violence. Camden, for instance, reported 163 incidents of violence — in a district of 12,608 students.
But Lakewood, in Ocean County, reported 145 incidents of violence in a district with more than 7,000 fewer students. So we decided to take a look at the report in the context of how many students attend school in each of the districts, and construct a list of the districts with the highest ratio of incidents of violence per student.
A few caveats: We only included districts with more than 500 students that also have a high school. We also omitted charter schools and special services districts. And remember, this data is self-reported by the districts, and does not differentiate based on the severity of the incident. Oh, and why nine? We placed the cutoff for inclusion at a ratio of .020.
And for comparison, there were 7,895 incidents of violence among New Jersey’s 1,369,554 students, a ratio of .005.