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Hopewell Valley School District reports small increase in districtwide violence, vandalism and substance abuse incidents

School district incidents, in-school and out-of-school suspensions have all slightly increased in data collected for the 2021-22 school year report on violence, vandalism and substance abuse.

The findings were presented to the Hopewell Valley school board at a meeting on Oct. 17. The data had been collected from September until June in 2021-22.

Tana Smith, director of Human Resources for the district, said the numbers were skewed the last time they discussed violence, vandalism and substance abuse report due to the statistics shared during the COVID-19 pandemic and the different schedules at district school buildings during that period. 

“We did prepare you that those numbers would be increasing slightly this year, which we saw when we presented in March and that continues for this presentation as well,” she said.

In the report for 2021-22, the district found that there were 37 in-school suspensions, which was an increase of 15 compared to 2020-21 total of 23 in-school suspensions.

“Over the last several years we have moved to in-school suspension, rather than out-of-school suspensions,” Smith said.

“This is a way that students can be provided teacher assistance during the day and not that free time that we know often happens when students might be home on an out-of-school suspension.”

Out-of-school suspension slightly increased from four in 2020-21 to 10 in 2021-22.

With a total of 17 incidents, Hopewell Valley Central High School (HVCHS) reported the most incidents in the 2021-22 school year. Followed by Timberlane Middle School (TMS), with 15 incidents, Bear Tavern Elementary and Hopewell Elementary reported one incident each, and no incidents were reported for Toll Gate Grammar School and Stony Brook Elementary School.

“These are statistics for the entire district, so it is just not one building,” Smith said. 

HVCHS incidents increased by seven compared to 10 reported incidents in 2020-21. TMS incidents increased by five from the previous year. The incidents at Bear Tavern, Hopewell Elementary, Toll Gate and Stony Brook remained the same as 2020-21.

The school district reported seven violence incidents, two vandalism incidents, two substance abuse incidents and one weapons incident.

Compared to 2020-21, the district had one incident of violence, one incident of substance abuse and zero incidents of vandalism and weapons.

“I do say this often, what we consider violence in Hopewell are often incidents that would not even make it to anyone’s attention at other school districts,” Smith said. “Anything from a smaller scale fight to a larger incident, that is something we take seriously and do report on.”

She noted that for substance abuse, the data does not include statistics from the random drug screening that takes place.

“These are only students that are actually found in possession or under the influence,” Smith said.

The one weapons incident is a reported incident that has not occurred in the district for a while, according to Smith.

“While i cannot discuss the specifics of the situation please know it was taken extremely seriously,” she said.

For more information on the 2021-22 violence, vandalism and substance abuse report visit, www.hvrsd.org

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