Violence appears to be on the decline in schools across Pennsylvania, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The number of assaults on students and staff in Pittsburgh Public Schools in 2005-06 was about half of what it was the year before. Assaults on students dropped to 310 in 2005-06 from 674 in 2004-05, and assaults on teachers fell to 177 from 371 during that same time. For the third straight year, the number of school incidents involving firearms dropped, says a new state report. Assaults on students in Pennsylvania declined 17 percent during the 2005-06 school year.
While the number of fights in public schools statewide increased by 68 percent — to 10,309 in 2005-06 from 6,152 in 2004-05 — that increase is mostly attributed to more comprehensive reporting of lesser incidents of violence. Pittsburgh reported 17,728 incidents of student misconduct involving rule violations such as cell phone abuse, chewing gum, misuse of computers, and failure to tuck in shirts. An official said a student with an untucked shirt might not be an obvious school safety threat, but the violation would be noted because the long shirttail could be concealing a weapon.