By Sarah Mahoney
Federal statistics say that despite the well-publicized shootings at Virginia Tech and Columbine High, the rate of serious crimes such as homicide and sexual assault at schools has decreased. But between 2000 and 2004, the percentage of public schools experiencing one or more violent incidents rose from 71% to 81%, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Yet most parents know next to nothing about the actual crime rates in their child's school. "There is no federal mandatory school crime reporting and tracking requirement for K-12 schools," says Trump. And historically, he says, schools have tended to downplay violence. (Have you ever seen a "Police Blotter" in the PTA newsletter?)
To make such statistics more available, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) has introduced a bill aimed at making schools more accountable by improving reporting of safety issues and informing parents about them. Want to find out about crime in your school? Ask the school resource officer (who may be able to tell you how many kids he's caught smoking pot or drinking in the parking lot) or call your police department.