After promising to do a better job reporting crime and violence, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools likely will report an upswing in the number of incidents this school year, says the Charlotte Observer. A report shows 306 crimes or violent incidents in schools through December. That would mean a 16 percent jump from last year and a 40 percent jump from two years ago. An increase was expected after an Observer series in June showed that the schools had failed to disclose some incidents the state requires.
School officials now review police reports, suspension statistics, and incidents of crime and violence to make sure all are counted. Principals must analyze monthly reports of discipline at their schools and meet with police officers stationed there. The accuracy of the principals’ data is now part of their annual evaluations. Margaret Carnes of Charlotte Advocates for Education said discipline can’t be improved until people understand what’s happening in schools. ” The state report focuses on 17 crimes, from murder to bomb threats to drug possession. Questions surfaced after reports showed Charlotte with a surprisingly low number of incidents. Districts interpret differently which crimes they must report, making district-to-district comparisons unreliable.