The number of RCSD students being arrested has dropped drastically since 2008, but Adam Urbanski, teacher’s union president, worries those numbers will bring a false sense of security for families, but particularly for teachers.
“We can’t ignore that assaults on teachers have increased we had 120 assaults on teachers reported,” said Urbanski.
He says that’s nearly double the number of teacher-reported assaults from any previous year.
“Don’t make an assumption that we’ve done everything we can to make our schools safer because if that were the case you would not have had double the assaults on teachers,” says Urbanski.
He says that while yes, student arrests have decreased by an astonishing 87 percent over the past 7 years, he questions if it’s a result of real change, or if teachers are being encouraged to only report the most serious incidents.
“If someone tells me they lost three hundred pounds in two weeks I would call that suspect too, something is wrong with that picture so when you see that drop I think it rightfully raises a question,” says Urbanski.
The head of security for RCSD, Lori Baldwin, confirming there has been a change in what is reported to police.
“With the more minor fights, the minor offenses, where an arrest may have previously been made, now there are different options,” says Baldwin.
Those options are more resources being made available, such as “help zones” where students can cool down, and more guidance counselors, which she says has been crucial to that decrease in arrests.
Baldwin adding that student and teacher safety is paramount, saying “whenever I talk to teachers or principals I tell them you have every right to go to the criminal justice system and they don’t necessarily want to go to court but they need some kind of resolution to the conflict though.”
That resolution both Urbanski and Baldwin agree is more resources and more guidance counselors, so kids won’t be sent home, or to jail, if it can be avoided.