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.