A statewide report shows incidents of student crime and violence have increased in North Carolina, including in the Triad, from pre-pandemic levels. 

There were nearly 3,300 incidents of weapon possessions, not including firearms, in NC public schools last year. 

That’s a 60% increase from the 2018-2019 academic year, in which there were just over 2,000 incidents. 

These figures come from the state’s Consolidated Data Report. Karen Fairley, the executive director of the Center for Safer Schools, presented the findings from this data to the state board of education last week, and explained why the comparison years were chosen. 

“We ended up doing 21-22 in comparison with 18-19, because that was pre-pandemic,” she said. “And the numbers for the years in between were really not a true reflection because children left school early in 19-20, and then there was variations in who was in school and virtual in 20-21.”

In Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, there were 148 incidents of weapon possessions last year – a 36% increase from 2018-2019. 

Guilford County Schools saw a greater increase — 52%. 

According to the report, there was also a rise in firearm-specific incidents across the state. But WS/FCS actually saw a decrease from pre-pandemic levels in this area, and Guilford remained the same. 

Fairley presented several recommendations to the board about how to improve school climate and culture. 

Those include employing a social worker at each school who focuses on prevention and intervention, and providing trauma-informed care training to staff and employees.

Amy Diaz covers education for WFDD in partnership with Report For America. You can follow her on Twitter at @amydiaze.

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