Bullying down, but some increases in vandalism, fighting at Natrona schools

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CASPER, Wyo. — Natrona County School District Superintendent Steve Hopkins said that safety is a top priority.

His comments came after school officials provided the Board of Trustees a safety and security update during their Monday, Aug. 12 meeting.

The school district provided some details of their efforts to address safety and security concerns on Tuesday.

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“Targeted efforts have been made to address security and safety measures across the District in alignment with the 10-point Comprehensive Safety Plan,” the school district said.

They pointed to trends the district saw over the 2018-2019 school year compared with previous years:

-Overall decrease in the area of Bullying/Cyber Bullying across all grade levels 

-Significant increase in the area of Vaping/E-Cigarettes/Tobacco across all grade levels 

-Areas of increase in defiance, disorderly conduct, harassment/sexual harassment, physical harm to others, and profanity at the elementary level *

-Areas of increase in fighting, battery, profanity, vandalism, and threat at the middle level *

-Areas of increase in classroom disruption, defiance, fighting, threat, vandalism, and weapons at the high school level *

-Areas of decrease in battery, classroom disruption, drugs/alcohol, fighting, misconduct, theft, threat, and vandalism at the elementary level 

-Areas of decrease in defiance, disorderly conduct, drugs/alcohol, harassment/sexual harassment, misconduct, physical harm to others, theft, and weapons at the middle level 

-Areas of decrease in battery, disorderly conduct, harassment/sexual harassment, misconduct, physical harm to others, profanity, and theft at the high school level

*10% or more increase

NCSD

School officials pointed out that increases may not necessarily be cause for alarm. That is because the district has increased their efforts to monitor things like bullying, so increased number of incidents could also be a reflection of stepped up efforts to take problems seriously.

“It is important to note that the data reflects a great commitment by our students, parents, staff, and our community to continue to work together in awareness, prevention, intervention, and the reporting of behaviors related to school and student safety,” the district said.

The district has prepared “Extreme Discipline Guidelines” they use to assess the severity of behavior issues and intervene in such situations.

They also have means by which students can anonymously report harassment or threats that they are aware of.

“Students and community members are actively engaging in proactive efforts to report behavior and safety concerns,” the school district says. “Safe2Tell Wyoming is a confidential reporting tool that is actively utilized to report concerns of safety for self and others. This app provides an avenue for students to be empowered in their school environment and when they see something, they say something.”

The school district also expects to have nine student resource officers available throughout the district to help ensure the safety of Natrona schools.

They are finalizing agreements with the City of Casper and the Town of Evansville regarding these agreements.

“Our partnership with local law enforcement towards increasing the number of school response officers in our schools has created a continued awareness of harmful behaviors and proactive processes for prevention and intervention,” the release adds.

“Additionally, local community partners are working together with schools to provide tools and resources to help in awareness, prevention, and intervention of some targeted behaviors. We will continue to work together with our community partners to identify opportunities for continued education for students, staff, and families on prevention and intervention – specifically, as related to the increase in the use of tobacco/vaping/e-cigarettes.”

The school district says they will continue to work over the coming school year to improve safety at schools and encourage appropriate behavior.