Each year, New Jersey's state Department of Education releases a report
that shows the crime rate in the public schools, including the crimes
of bullying, fighting,
weapons offenses and substance abuse.
According to the report, bullying has increased almost 20 percent since
2008. It made up almost one third of all violence reported in New Jersey schools.
In September of this year, the state implemented a stronger anti-bullying law.
According to the report, in 2010-11, students in grades seven and eight
committed one third of the reported bullying offenses, while students
in grades nine and 10 committed 25 percent of the bullying offenses reported.
Of the bullying offenses reported, only four percent were related to students
targeted because of their religion, sexual orientation or race.
While bullying incidents have increased, weapons offenses involving firearms
remain rare. According to the report, only five offenses were reported
Other weapon use increased by 25 percent since 2008. The use of knives
increased by 11 percent -- up to 834 incidents out of the 1,246 weapons
Of all the offenses, fights and assaults still account for the most number
Violence throughout New Jersey schools increased by seven percent, while
assaults decreased by eight percent.
The Acting Education Commissioner does not know if the changes in the number
of crimes is because more people are reporting it, or because people are
more aware of bullying behavior at schools, but he stated that he does
know that the new bullying law as brought bullying and violence in school
into the limelight.
"Bullying, fighting, weapons offenses, drug and alcohol use rise in
New Jersey public schools," Diane D'Amico, Dec. 17, 2011