Are Kentucky schools getting safer? A new report says yes

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WHAS11.com

Posted on June 29, 2009 at 5:20 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 15 at 3:47 PM

(WHAS11) - A new report is out that shows improvement in some areas but one offense is on the rise in school safety.

The Kentucky Center for School Safety just released their report Monday afternoon but school officials say parents should be encouraged.

Its summer and for many kids school is the last thing they are thinking about.

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But school safety is always a concern for parents and the Kentucky Center for School Safety released their annual report this afternoon.

They say their 5-year study shows great improvement in student behavior.

The safe schools report shows a reduction in school district violations.

There was a 10% decrease in suspensions from last year to this year.

It shows a 34% drop in drug abuse incidents from 2003.

But there is one offense that the center has seen a spike significantly over the years.

The number of disciplinary actions for terroristic threatening has increased by 74% over the past 5 years, and its partly due to anti-bullying legislation.

This legislation includes any type of verbal threat being taken much more seriously.

"I'm seeing more and more principals and superintendents really crack down on verbal threats more kids were punished for that," said Jon Akers of the Center for Safe School.

Akers is in Richmond, Kentucky and is the Director of the Kentucky Center for Safe Schools.

This independent agency also says that disciplinary actions for alcohol offenses have increased 27% from last year.

But the number of handguns brought to school dropped from 30 last year to 14 this year.

So are Kentucky schools safer than they were five years ago?

"They are safer today than they ever have been. Are we perfect? The answer is no," said Akers. "In our society no one is absolutely 100% safe but the schools are better equipped today than they ever have been to handle most anything that can come our way."

The number of rifles and shotguns brought to schools rose some this year but that was mostly rural areas where kids would go hunting afterschool.

Those guns were never brought inside a school building.

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