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Improved Safety at NJ Schools: Report [AUDIO]

A new report finds New Jersey schools are getting safer.

School Classroom
Flickr User Matt McGee

The latest “Violence, Vandalism and Substance Abuse in Schools” report, issued by the state Department of Education, finds fights, assaults, bomb threats and damage to school property are all down 10 to 15 percent over the past three years.

In addition, the number of cases involving bullying, harassment and intimidation has also dropped, according to Department of Education spokesman Mike Yaple.

“Part of the decrease in bullying is because of the efforts that we’re seeing by local school districts,” said Yaple. “The other part of it is because the Department of Education has been working with the local school officials to provide them with a better understanding of the criteria for reporting cases of bullying.”

He added, “What we saw in the first year was that the school officials were erring probably too much on the side of caution and over-reporting cases of bullying, so now I think what you’re seeing is a lot more accurate reporting over this past year.”

Yaple pointed out the report gives school officials the chance to look and see where they want to focus their efforts.

“For instance, we see in the report that most of the cases of school bullying occur in grades 5 to 8, so schools might want to focus a little more attention on those grades,” said Yaple. “But overall, we’re seeing a positive trend across the board.”

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