Category Archives: Discipline / Violence

MMSD student/teacher assaults/injuries 2006-2007

Madison Parent:

Details of the data behind the “School assaults, by the numbers” item (thank you, Bill Lueders) in this week’s Isthmus are posted here (sorted by school name), and here (subtotals of incidents by school type). The reports included incidents through June 4, 2007, so any incidents that occurred during the final fortnight of the school year aren’t included. There are a couple of entries whose dates predate the school year and may be typos, but they are replicated as is.

Student-on-student assault/injury information is not included in these reports, nor do these reports include incidents of verbal threats of violence against staff (even those serious enough to result in the issuance of a restraining order). Police were called in only 13 of the 224 incidents. We don’t know whether there is a district-wide policy that requires that all such incidents be reported, and, if there is, whether the policy is followed consistently from school to school. I concur with the commenters at School Information System that this is only a part of the picture, that we need to know more, and that we need to do more.

School assaults, by the numbers

Bill Lueders:

In the 2006-07 school year, there were 224 instances in which staff members in Madison schools were assaulted or injured by students, according to records provided to Isthmus. (This represents a significant increase from 2005-06, when the district tallied 173 such incidents.)
Most occurred in elementary schools, and eight out of nine involved special education students. The incidents are mostly minor — kicks, bites, scratches and such — although 43 required some medical attention. Police were called on nine occasions.
Luis Yudice, the district’s safety coordinator, says the most serious incidents were the two reported recently in Isthmus (Watchdog, 6/8/07), both involving injuries to staff members trying to break up fights.
The most startling revelation is the extent to which a handful of students drive these numbers upward. A single fourth-grader at Chavez Elementary accounted for 41 of this year’s incidents. At the middle school level, a seventh-grader at Sennett and eighth-grader at Cherokee had 19 and 12, respectively. And a ninth-grader at East had 10.
Together, these four students generated 37% of the total assaults for the 24,576-student district. (In 2005-06, a single student at Lowell logged 36 incidents; no one else had more than seven.)

Fight with injuries at LaFollette

RELEASE DETAILS FOR CASE# 2007-65974: Disturbance
Case Date: 06/12/07 Case Time:12:18 PM
Release Date: 06/12/07 Release Time: 9:33 PM
Released By: Lt. Dave Jugovich
Address: 702 Pflaum Road (LaFollette H.S.)
Arrested person/suspect
Victim/Injuries: Two (2) students
Details: Several officers reponded to a report of a fight at LaFollette High School. Two (2) students were transported to an area hospital as a result of injuries sustained in the disturbance. One student was stuck in the hand with a pen, the other sustained an injury to his nose. The injuries were not life-threatening and the investigation remains under investigation.

Madison’s Adoption of the Kronenberg “Positive Behavior Support” Principles

Doug Erickson:

A couple of years ago, the students likely would have been suspended. But under a new approach to discipline being tried in the district, the students instead were given the option of coming up with a fix-it plan — something more than just saying, “I’m sorry.”
The students chose to spend all of their recesses over the next two days playing catch with a football, just the two of them.
“They came back and reported that they did much better playing together, and that was the end of it,” said school social worker Mike Behlke.
District employees hope the approach will reduce out-of-school suspensions, which have been slowly rising at some schools and often have little effect other than causing the students to miss class.

Madison Parent has more:

The MMSD has high expectations for Kronenberg (”As a result of this training student behavior will improve leading to greater success in school. Both student behavioral referrals to staff and suspensions will decrease.” [from the 07-08 Aristos Grant description]). The WSJ piece does its part to create the impression that those expectations are well on the way to being achieved. But, as the scientific adage goes, anecdotes do not equal data. Since we’re in the final few days of a school year in which at least a dozen of the district’s elementary schools and at least two of the middle schools have had a year of working and living with this system, data should be available at this point on the actual incidence of classroom disruption, threats and violence as experienced by students and teachers in schools that have implemented Kronenberg, in those that have not, how they compare to each other, and how they compare over time; and that data ought to be made available to the public.

School Crime Data in Madison

Madison Parent:

How safe are our schools? This question can’t be answered without consistent collection and analysis of information about violent and disruptive incidents in our schools. While the Madison Police Department has just released its Uniform Crime Report for 2006 (the summary of crime statistics that is reported annually to the FBI), there’s no equivalent report for Madison schools. Our state’s Department of Public Instruction collects data for expulsions and suspension, but not for incidents. The Madison Metropolitan School District’s web site simply links to the DPI site. At the individual school level, there may be no system for proactively communicating with parents about incidents affecting safety, or, worse yet, a parent’s school safety questions may languish unanswered.

The post includes a list of recent school crime events. Gangs and School Violence Forum.

Gangs and School Violence Forum Notes

This evening’s Gangs and School Violence Forum was quite interesting. Rafael organized an excellent panel. We’ll post a link to video and audio files when they are complete. Following are links to local articles and commentary on this event:

  • Cristina Daglas:

    Yudice said there has been a “huge development in the area of Latino gangs” in Madison specifically, and Blue noted an increase in girls in gangs.
    “We have seen a great surge in activity,” Yudice said.
    All of the panelists offered ideas to help reduce the problem in Madison’s high schools, including limiting off-campus privileges and continuing consistent enforcement against gang colors and clothing in schools.
    “It’s really easy to slip out a door,” said Madison Memorial High School Principal Bruce Dahmen. “It’s important that we have high expectations for all the children.”

  • Reader Jared Lewis emailed this:

    If you need any assistance regarding information about gangs in Madison or resources for schools to tackle the gang problem, feel free to contact me or visit my website at
    I am a former California police officer and a nationally recognized gang expert. I now reside in Jefferson County and continue to teach law enforcement officers, educators and social service workers about dealing with gang problems nationwide.

  • Natalie Swaby

    Students and parents listened during a Wednesday night meeting and took notes, a move in the right direction according to Officer Moore.
    “Last year they were telling me there was no gang issue in or around any of our schools, I was told that by the administration here,” he says. “So this is something that is really great for me that we are finally acknowledging that we do have gang issues.”
    There are resources for at risk youth in the Madison area, but many on the panel stressed that a unified strategic plan is needed.

    Officer Moore also strongly suggested that the High Schools eliminate their open campus policy.

  • Sandy Cullen:

    Blue and other panelists attributed the increase in gang activity to a growing number of students who feel a disconnection with their school and community, and with adults who care about them.
    “We’re getting a wake-up call that says certain parts of our community are not healthy,” Blue said.

Forum video and audio archive