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UPDATE: Massive Berkeley Brush Fire Nearly…

Ridgewood District Reports 38 Violence, Vandalism Incidents in 2011-2012

Number higher than previous years, which officials explained was due to new state reporting laws on bullying.

At first blush, the level of incidents reported for the annual school violence and vandalism report may seem higher than normal.

It's because the district must include "harrassment, intimidation and bullying" (HIB) incidents in the report as a result of new legislation, Ridgewood High School assistant principal Basil Pizzuto reported to the school board Monday night.

According to Pizzuto, a total of 38 incidents were reported district-wide for the 2011-2012 school year, higher than the previous two years. There's a caveat, however. A total of 12 HIB reports were included in that total, he told the school board. Remove those, it's just about in line with past totals.

Broken down, a total of 26 events were documented from January through July, the second required reporting period per state guidelines. Sixteen incidents qualified as violence or HIB, 5 were documented as theft/vandalism, no weapons were found at school, and 5 substance abuse cases were made, Pizzuto said. There were five incidents from September-December that were documented as HIB/violence.

Pizzuto said the level of HIB reports declined from the first part of the year to the second.

"As students become familiar with the law and our seriousness with it, the number will drop," he told the school board. "I think we are progressing well."

According to Pizzuto, the total number of students involved in HIB, violence-related incidents was 51 for the 2011-2012 school year. That figure represents about 1 percent of the nearly 6,000 students across a dozen schools.

The high school assistant principal said former school resource officer Detective Chris McDowell would be meeting monthly with him and staff to continually monitor situations.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Craig Hueneke October 16, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Mr. Pizzuto is totally correct. The annals of law enforcement show that it is not uncommon for the number of reported incidents to dramatically rise when a poorly written law is rushed to be passed and it's implementation is reliant upon enforcement by those who are not given proper training and/or don't fully understand the law itself (which is of no fault of their own).
Jim Corcoran October 16, 2012 at 11:02 PM
A high school in Appleton, Wisconsin tried an experiment under the enlightened guidance of their principal, LuAnn Coenen. She wanted to see if she could positively affect the fighting, weapons-carrying and general lack of focus and discipline in the school by changing the food the kids ate. Vending machines were replaced with water coolers; hamburgers and French fries were taken off the menu and replaced with fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grain breads and a salad bar. With the departure of junk food, she also saw the departure of vandalism, litter and the need for police patrolling her hallways. The students were calm, socially engaged and focused on their schoolwork. Problems were minimal. And all Ms. Coenen did was change the menu! Please watch "Forks Over Knives" for FREE to learn more about the implications of a meat-based diet vs a plant-based diet. Go to http://www.hulu.com/watch/279734 and do yourself and your family a favor!

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