The number of weapons seized from city students dropped by more than 50-percent in school year 2014-15, according to a district report.
School security staff confiscated seven weapons in the last school year compared to 15 in school year 2013-14, according to the report.
During the same period the district witnessed spikes in incidences of violence and vandalism. There were 70 incidents of violence last school year compared to 56 the previous academic year, according to the report.
Similarly, there were 21 incidents of vandalism last school year compared to 13 the previous year, according to the report.
“If the report is accurate reflection of what is happening out there this is really good,” said Errol Kerr, school board member last Wednesday. School board president Jonathan Hodges also expressed skepticism at the numbers presented by the district.
Hodges said he was a “little quizzical” at the dramatic decline in the number of weapons confiscated from students.
”That’s remarkable,” said Hodges. “I’m just hoping the reporting is uniform.”
The numbers are audited by the New Jersey Department of Education for accuracy, said James Smith, head of security at the district.
Kerr noted a mismatch between the numbers and the district’s suspension rate. Students are suspended for a variety of reasons that may not always involve vandalism, violence, or weapons, noted Eastside High School principal Zatiti Moody.
Smith attributed the reduced incidents of students bringing weapons to the schools to deterrence measures. He cited one particular method the district has been employing: unannounced wanding, scanning for metal object using a handheld metal detector.
“They don’t know what day we’re going to be wanding,” said Smith.
The report included weapons confiscation data going back to academic year 2000-1. Seven seized weapons was the lowest in 15 years, according to the report.