The number of violence, vandalism, and weapons incidents in city schools have dropped by 45-percent in the 2017-18 school year, according to data presented to the school board on Wednesday night.
There were 78 incidents — 65 violence, 7 vandalism, and 6 weapons incidents –, down from 144 in 2016-17 school year.
Last school year’s total is the lowest in 18 years.
James Smith, head of security at the Paterson Public Schools, said a variety of factors helped to reduce the number of incidents. Superintendent Eileen Shafer hired 20 extra security officers last school year, which helped greatly to reduce the incidents, he said.
“There was a lot of interventions on part of principals and guidance counselors,” said Smith on Friday morning.
Smith presented the data to the school board in a brief presentation on Wednesday night.
School board member Emanuel Capers was skeptical of the drop on Thursday. He questioned the accuracy of the data.
Capers was not present at Wednesday’s board meeting.
Smith said school principals report the incidents to his office.
“I can only go by what schools report to me,” said Smith.
Furthermore, the New Jersey Department of Education audits the incidents every 3-5 years, he said.
The school district had the highest number of violence, vandalism, and weapons incidents in the 2000-01 school year. There were 459 reported incidents, according school district data.