Public schools in Luzerne County are significantly safer and freer of cigarettes and alcohol than they were when the current class of high school seniors entered kindergarten, according to data from the state department of education.
The total number of reported incidents in the county’s 11 public school districts fell from 1,095 in the 1999-2000 school year to 663 in 2010-2011, according to the data, which reflects drops in a number of sub-categories, including assaults on students (from 171 in 1999-2000 to 32 in 2010-2011) and assaults on faculty (from 25 to 5).
Fewer Luzerne County students last year were accused of disorderly conduct (46 compared with 102 in 1999-2000) and fewer were caught with cigarettes (129 in 2010-2011, 244 in 1999-2000) and alcohol (14 in 2010-2011, 16 in 1999-2000). More students, however, were caught with controlled substances (60 in 2010-2011 compared with 16 in 1999-2000) and there were nearly the same number of fights (171 in 1999-2000, 163 last year).
Superintendents interviewed by The Citizens’ Voice attributed the reduction in violence, aside from fighting, to the installation of security cameras in district schools, the implementation of dress codes and a recommitment to student safety in the wake of the April 1999 shooting massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.