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Morris Plains Aces Violence, Vandalism and Substance Abuse Report

Morris Plains School District has not one incident reported to the Department of Education for the 2012-2013 school year.

The New Jersey Department of Education on Thursday released its annual Violence, Vandalism and Substance Abuse in the Schools Report for 2012-13.

The reports highlight the number of violent incidents in a school district in various categories, including harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB). It is the second year HIB incidents are being reported in their own category.

In Morris Plains, there were goose eggs across the board.
  • Enrollment: 614
  • Violence: 0
  • Vandalism: 0
  • Weapons: 0
  • Substances: 0
  • HIB: 0
“I am extremely proud of our students, staff, and school community with regards to our most recent Violence, Vandalism, and Substance Abuse Report.  These positive findings seem to be a strong indicator that many of our preventative educational programs are indeed working successfully," said Morris Plains Superintendent Mark Maire. "We will continue to focus on the development of the whole child; collaborate with appropriate outside agencies; and continue to provide students, staff, and parents with the resources to support a positive school environment. “

It is interesting to note that the Morris Plains School District feeds into Morristown High School, which is part of the Morris School District. Their numbers showed a different story. In fact, the Morris School District ranks tenth in the state in proportionate number of HIB incidents.
  • Enrollment: 5,024
  • Violence: 47
  • Vandalism: 5
  • Weapons: 5
  • Substances: 34
  • HIB: 76
But according to Morris School District spokesperson Mary Donohoe, the numbers on their face don't tell the whole story.

"I am not sure how it is done in other districts but we take our reporting responsibility very seriously," Donohoe said. "We follow it more than just to the letter. It is an enormous amount of work that gets put into the reporting."

Donohoe said the district does not just include incidents that have to do with class designations and also reports those happening at the elementary school level.

"We reported incidents when elementary school kids threw a pencil as a violent act," Donohoe said. "And when one student hid another students lunch as HIB. We take reporting very seriously."

Impeccable adherence to accountability is a pattern with the Morris School District, who just last month passed an audit where there was nothing that could be improved upon.

The following types of incidents are included in each category. Violence: fights, assaults, and robberies. Vandalism: bomb threats, burglaries, damage to private property, and thefts.

More than one third of HIB incidents throughout the state occurred in the classroom.

Student HIB offenders in grades five through 12 were responsible for 56 percent of these offenses. This population accounts for only 29 percent the state’s student population.

Fifteen percent of HIB incidents targeted students because of their race or color, the state noted.

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