New Jersey schools see decline in threats during 2014-2015
New Jersey schools have seen a general decline in school threats over the last three academic years, according to data from the state Department of Education.
An Associated Press analysis of school threat data found the disruptions are increasing nationwide at the expense of students' learning time and local police departments' resources.
The state department electronically publishes data gathered from its nearly 600 operating public school districts. More than 1.3 million students attend New Jersey public schools.
Here's a look at New Jersey school threat statistics from 2012-2014:
The commissioner's report to the state Legislature shows a decline in bomb threats during the 2014-2015 academic year compared to previous years. General bomb threats and fake bombs are both considered vandalism. Schools tally general bomb threats, which are threats received by phone, email or other methods that a bomb will detonate on school grounds. A fake bomb is an object that has the appearance of an explosive device but is later determined to be harmless, such as a suspicious item.
The 2014-2015 school year recorded 39 bomb threat and fake bomb cases, a decline from the 48 cases reported the previous school year.
Schools reported 57 bomb threat and fake bomb cases during the 2012-2013 school year.
Only one bomb was reported in 2012-2013 and a second in 2014-2015. The count includes cases where the bomb was exploded or unexploded.
HANDGUNS, RIFLES AND AIR GUNS
Handgun or rifle incidents are some of the rarest threats in New Jersey schools. Six handgun incidents and no rifle incidents were reported during the 2014-2015 school year. That number mirrored incidents reported the previous academic year.
The 2012-2013 school year saw a heightened eight handgun incidents and a single rifle incident.
The district no longer considers toy guns as weapons and would not report them, but would report an imitation firearm that looks like a real handgun.
Air gun incidents rose in 2014-2015 with 110 air gun incidents compared to 81 in 2013-14, and 28 incidents with imitation guns in 2014-15 compared to 25 in 2013-14.
The districts report 1,037 weapons incidents in 2014-15. As in previous years, knives, blades, razors, scissors and box cutters were most commonly reported.
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