Hopefully, Memphis City Schools isn’t part of this pattern of inaccurate reporting. After all, in the most recent school year, there were almost 135,000 incidents reported within our schools.
Fortunately, the majority wasn’t criminal in nature, but the tally of incidents does prove to us that whatever teachers are paid, it’s too little.
Leading the list of infractions were the regulars: misconduct, disruptive behavior, class cutting, excessive tardiness, insolence/insubordination, fighting, and dress code violations. All together, they accounted for about 108,000 of the incidents.
After these, there was significant drop-off, but the kinds of incidents sound more serious. . There are gang-related incidents (964), threats against students (952); threats against teachers and school personnel (830); theft (676); trespassing/loitering (67); possession of weapons (492); battery against teachers and school personnel (476), possession of drugs (396); gambling (383); vandalism/break-ins (327); drug use (257); false fire alarms (83); possession of alcohol (92); false fire alarms (83); bomb threat (27); arson (26); extortion (22); and weapons use (8).
In an era where our society seems prone to criminalize every kind of behavior, we commend the district for taking a more productive course of action with Blue Ribbon, which, despite its critics, is based on the research that shows that intervention with young people is much more effective in creating productive citizens than arrest and prosecution.