Norwalk Schools: Thousands Of Disciplinary Cases Reported

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In 2009-10, the most recent year with available data, Norwalk schools reported more than 2,240 incidents that required disciplinary action, according to the state Department of Education.
In 2009-10, the most recent year with available data, Norwalk schools reported more than 2,240 incidents that required disciplinary action, according to the state Department of Education. Photo Credit: Alfred Branch

NORWALK, Conn. – More than 2,240 disciplinary incidents were reported in Norwalk public schools during the 2009-10 school year, with 40 cases involving weapons, according to the most recent data released by the state Department of Education.

In addition to situations in which students brought weapons to schools, other serious disciplinary incidents tracked that year included fights, violent crimes against others and sexually related behavior.

A total of 235 fights required some sort of disciplinary action throughout the district, and another 115 violent crimes were reported. The number of incidents involving sexually related behavior was 45.

Statewide, the number of such school incidents has dropped overall in recent years, according to the state Department of Education.

The same is true in Norwalk, interim school Superintendent Tony Daddona said.

"I would not say our schools are violent, that's misleading," Daddona said.

The number of disciplinary incidents has steadily declined in recent years, he said. The district has implemented prevention measures, also called "positive behavioral intervention strategies." In 2006-07, for example, the number of reported disciplinary incidents was 2,797, he said.  

By comparison, the Danbury school district, which has a few hundred fewer students than Norwalk, had just more than 2,800 disciplinary incidents for the same period, a significantly higher number. But Danbury reported fewer fights, fewer violent acts, fewer weapons incidents and fewer sexually related behavioral matters, according to the state Department of Education.

Each category has a wide range of what is considered a violent act, Daddona said. Parents need to keep in mind that students are also disciplined for incidents that occur outside of school but that might have an impact on campus.

"We continually address these issues, and the number of incidents has gone down," Daddona said.

Norwalk High School led the district in the number of violent incidents with 42, situations in which weapons were brought to school at 12 and sexually related behavior that required disciplinary action at 10.

Brien McMahon had the highest number of fights at 55 compared with Norwalk High, but McMahon had fewer weapons incidents at nine, violent incidents at 16 and sexually related behavioral incidents at five.

The smaller, alternative Briggs High school reported eight fights in 2009-10, seven weapons incidents, three violent situations and two sexually related behavioral matters.

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I am inclined to agree with Ken P. Jr. Low numbers could possibly allude to teachers and administrators not reporting specific infractions. In the news we can be thankful that peer-to-peer bullying has been brought to the forefront of public awareness. No one will argue the trauma, or worse, that students experience on a day to day basis when they are not provided with a safe and comfortable school environment. These numbers appear to reflect a unified zero tolerance which serves to create safer, positive school climates for all students. The credit goes to Norwalk Public Schools!

Is this any shock with the number of bullets flying around twon the last few years and shootings seemingly weekly now. DaDonna is in denial and the middle schools are just as bad as the high schools.

Is this any shock with the number of bullets flying around twon the last few years and shootings seemingly weekly now. DaDonna is in denial and the middle schools are just as bad as the high schools.

What do you expect when drawing a picture of a gun or bringing a key chain knife to school are cause for disciplinary action?

I have two kids in Norwalk high school & feel confident saying there were more fights & things of that nature 30 years ago when I was there. Zero tolerance policies will ALWAYS inflate the numbers.

I wonder if those report numbers have also been checked for mistakes. Another municipality suspended a student when a white pill dropped out of the student's pocket. Turned out to be a TicTac. The student was reinstated, but I wonder how many incidents like that were included in the numbers.

I think it was stated that it was true in Norwalk that these incidents have dropped as well as across the state. Norwalk police would not have these stats as many of he incidents do not require police involvement. Many of the "violent" incidents include teenage fights that would be handled without police. Sexual related incidents are not necessarily crimes. It may be consensual acts between students that is a violation of school policy and not law. I would have been interested to see more comparisons to schools in Cities of similar size and per capita rates. Simply comparing to Danbury gives an idea that Norwalk is average. We need to see what the numbers are like in Stamford, Bridgeport, Waterbury, etc. in order to make a fair comparison

I'm wondering how many incidents were things like what Ken mentioned: drawings of firearms, kids suspended for having candy (Milford, CT & Perkins, IL); kids playing with chicken nuggets shaped like guns (Jonesboro, Arkansas); being charged with sexual assault for playing tag (San Francisco, CA), playing cops and robbers (Trappe, Md.); and of course one of the most recent ones, threatening to shoot someone with a Hello, Kitty bubble gun (Mount Carmel, NY). All of those incidents involved the police, suspension and in at least three of the cases, judicial rulings.

"I would not say our schools are violent, that's misleading," Daddona said

Oh Ya Mo is grooming this guy to lie to the public as well.

Lets ask Rillings why if these numbers are true we the taxpayers never heard them while cutting security and juvenile officers last couple of years from the police dept.

What about the fights at the bus terminal and many other places that are school related?

This is the problem with Norwalk city officials reporting things like this they forget the small stuff that also adds up.

Timing is great now that the city is planning safer schools,won't be hard to ask for more help maybe a few new officers could help this cause at this point./

Statewide, the number of such school incidents has dropped overall in recent years DOES THAT INCLUDE NORWALK?

Why couldn't Norwalk police release this data or is it they never had it?

Wow what else has been left out?