♦ The State of North Carolina has released statistics in a report that includes reportable crimes and dropout rates in North Carolina Schools.
Overall, the reportable crime rate of acts per 1,000 students decreased statewide in North Carolina. The high school rate dropped 3.3% during the 2015-2016 school year to 12.75 acts per 1,000 students in membership from 13.19 the previous school year. The overall crime rate for all grades in North Carolina schools also decreased, by 3.9%.
In contrast, reportable crimes in Rowan-Salisbury high schools have increased 92.8% to a rate of 21.34 per 1,000 students from the previous school year’s rate of 11.07. RSSS now ranks 10th in North Carolina for high school reportable crime. The state does not include comparable rates for lower grades in its 2015-2016 report.
Amongst its neighboring counties, Rowan-Salisbury Schools has the highest reportable crime rate per 1,000 students. This is also true when comparing RSSS to the three closest high-density metropolitan school districts in Forsyth, Guilford, and Mecklenburg counties.
School agencies with the highest rates of grade 9-13 reportable crimes were Rowan-Salisbury, Watauga County, Hickory City, Jackson County, Haywood County, Camden County, Robeson County, Buncombe County, Lee County, and Warren County.
The most frequently reported reportable crimes in North Carolina high schools were 1) possession of a controlled substance in violation of the law, 2) possession of a weapon excluding firearms and powerful explosives, and 3) possession of an alcoholic beverage.
Crimes that are reportable may be by students or staff. Nine of the reportable crimes are considered violent: homicide, assault resulting in serious bodily injury, assault involving the use of a weapon, rape, sexual offense, sexual assault, kidnapping, robbery with a dangerous weapon, and taking indecent liberties with a minor.
Any school that reports two or more violent acts and five or more violent acts per thousand students in two consecutive years and where “conditions that contributed to the commission of those offenses are likely to continue into another school year” may be considered by the State Board of Education to be “Persistently Dangerous” by the State Board of Education.
Seven other reportable crimes are assault on school personnel, bomb threat, burning of a school building, possession of alcoholic beverage, possession of controlled substance in violation of law, possession of a firearm or powerful explosive, possession of a weapon. The North Carolina DPI “2015-16 School Crime and Graduation Consolidated Report” offers no explanation as to why assault on school personnel is not considered a violent crime.
Rowan-Salisbury Schools ranked 37th highest in dropout counts among all 160 North Carolina school districts and charter schools listed in the report, placing them in in the top 23% of schools with high dropout rates.
Rowan-Salisbury, along with Camden County, Cherokee County, Mount Airy City, and Macon County were the school agencies with the largest 3-year percentage increases for grades 9-13. Since having 73 dropouts in the 2012-2013 school year, the RSSS dropout count has risen to 194 for 2015-2016.
North Carolina recorded 10,889 dropouts in grades 9-13 for the 2015-2016 school year, a 2.7% decrease from the 11,190 reported in 2014-2015. Rowan-Salisbury Schools experienced a 23.02% increase in dropouts of grades 9-13, rising from a rate of 2.52 to a rate of 3.10 per 1,000 students.
The North Carolina Department of Instruction defines dropouts as “students who attended any part or all of the 2015-16 school year and did not return to school for the 2016-17 school year.” This includes students who leave the district to move elsewhere, but does not include those who attended Community College Adult High School programs locally. Rowan-Salisbury Schools reported no students who dropped out and attended Adult High School for the 2015-2016 school year dropout numbers.
RSSS dropouts were reported as follows for gender and ethnicity for the year 2015-16:
You can find the entire report, available on the NC Department of Instruction Research and Evaluation page, at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/research/dropout/