The state education department released its 2015 Violence, Vandalism and Substance Abuse in New Jersey Public Schools Report on Oct. 13. The report indicated that overall incidents of violence and bullying are down, while the number of anti-bullying programs has increased.
There were a total of 18,332 incidents reported for the 2014-2015 school year, a 4 percent decrease from last year. About one-third of those incidents were considered harassment, intimidation or bullying, down 5 percent from the previous year. The department reports that the number of bullying incidents peaks in the middle school years.
Fights were the most commonly reported violent incident category. In the 2014-2015 school year, the number of fights increased slightly, by 3 percent.
Also described in the report are weapons incidents, of which there were 1,036 last year. The most commonly reported weapons were sharp objects, such as knives; that number increased by 6 percent this year. There were six handgun incidents reported in New Jersey schools in the 2014-2015 school year.
The report also detailed substance abuse in schools, and found there has been little change from the previous two years. More than three-quarters of the 2,982 substance abuse cases involved marijuana on school grounds. Alcohol accounted for 14 percent of the reports.
The full report, past reports and summaries of district-and-school-level data are available on the NJDOE website.