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November 16, 2006

Officials Meet to Discuss School Safety


Insubordination, bullying and fighting top the list of problems Madison schools deal with regularly.

Madison police and district officials answered questions and discussed the safety challenges of local schools.

Police handed out an incident report for Memorial High School.

According to the report, there were 32 calls to police for fighting since last January. There were 9 calls for possible sexual assaults and one weapons violation. Police say they're seeing more calls for weapons violations.

They did not give out reports for the other high schools.

Madison compares favorably to the rest of the nation on the issue of school violence. A study released in 2005 by the U.S. departments of Justice and Education indicated that nationally there was an average of 24 violent crimes for every 1,000 students on all grade levels.

For Madison's high schools last year, WISC-TV's findings revealed 4.4 violent crimes per 1,000 students. And while that's below the national average, district officials said they know that area parents judge things by a different standard.

"It's never willing to simply sit back and say we're good enough, always trying to improve, always looking forward," Yudice said.
"You have to continually examine what you're doing. You can't ever say, 'Boy we've got the answer.' Because the one thing I promise you is, we don't," said Art Rainwater, Madison Metropolitan School District superintendent.

For the entire 2005-2006 school year, Madison Memorial topped the list with 286 calls to police. Lafollette had 276 calls; East had 238 and West had 222.

The four-year trend showed a general decline in police calls to the same schools. Of the four, only Madison Memorial has seen a slight increase -- 26 percent since 2002.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at November 16, 2006 5:33 AM
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