With COVID-19 and the pandemic factored in the Hopewell Valley Regional School District (HVRSD) has seen a decline of in-school suspensions, out-of-school suspensions and district incidents.
The findings are part of the 2020-21 Violence and Vandalism report, which was presented to the Hopewell Valley Board of Education at its monthly meeting on Nov. 15. The data was collected from September until June in 2020-21.
The full findings for the school year found the district had 23 in-school suspensions compared to the previous 2019-20 year, which experience 37 in-school suspensions. Out-of-school suspensions also sharply declined from 16 in 2019-20 to four in 2020-21.
“These are statistics for the entire district. You will notice we have decreased our out-of-school suspensions. This is a trend we have been having for awhile,” said Tana Smith, director of Human Resources. “It is much more advantageous to have the students in the building for any sort of consequence, so we can have the teachers meet with them and serve their suspension in the building for an in-school rather than an out-of-school where they might be unsupervised.”
Smith reported to the board that numbers are a little skewed for the two school years because of the pandemic and COVID-19.
“Last year was a different year and 2019-20 was a different year,” she said.
The report also indicated that there were no expulsions in 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.
According to the report for the 2020-21 school year, Hopewell Valley Central High School (HVCHS) had eight alleged Harassment, Intimidation, Bullying (HIB) incidents. Of those eight alleged incidents, three of them were confirmed and there was one violence incident.
At Timberlane Middle School, there were four alleged HIB incidents and one substance related incident.
“Please note when we have the substances category this does not include random drug screening results. Those are only students found under the influence or in possession which could be alcohol or drugs,” Smith said. “We are happy that the weapons column continues to be zero.”
District incidents noticeably declined from 2018-19 to 2020-21 in regards to violence. Violence incidents for example declined districtwide from 11 in 2018-19, to six in 2019-20, to one in 2020-21.
Vandalism increased from one in 2018-19 to five in 2019-20, but decreased to zero in the 2020-21 school year. Additionally, substance abuse incidents declined from seven incidents in 2018-19 to one in 2020-21.
“Starting back in 2018-19, please take into account as I mentioned in 2019-20, we did go fully remote in March, April and June. So our numbers took a downslide from the years before, and then last year (2020-21) we only had 30% of the students remote, which means we did not have all of the students,” Smith added. “I would say right now we are at the honeymoon phase of being back in the building is now over.”
The district does expect the numbers to be up quite a bit when we meet at the next report in the beginning of the year, she said.