Many Upstate Schools Still Fail To Track Campus Violence - WSPA.com

Many Upstate Schools Still Fail To Track Campus Violence

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Many Upstate schools still fail to follow requirements for reporting school violence. Many Upstate schools still fail to follow requirements for reporting school violence.
GREENVILLE, S.C. - Federal law requires states to develop reporting requirements for campus violence in public schools.  In South Carolina the law requires data for seven serious crimes.

That information is supposed to help parents know which schools are safest and where there’s a history of trouble.  In some cases schools are simply not following those rules and there may be no punishment for ignoring the law.

The information is tracked in what the South Carolina Department of Education calls the “persistently violent” schools report.

The tables show how often certain crimes like murder, rape and “weapons violations” happen at each South Carolina school.

“There are laws about the reporting and requirements and policies on reporting and if it comes to our attention that a school is not in compliance with reporting under law we will follow up," said SC Superintendent of Education Mick Zais.

7 On Your Side did follow up, starting with this report in July of 2012.

The finding showed several Upstate districts failed to give parents the legally required facts about campus safety.

At the time Zais said there was little accountability for breaking the law.

Now, 7 On Your Side has new evidence showing unreported incidents in one Upstate district.

On February 3, Gaffney police charged a student at Gaffney High School with pointing a gun at a classmate while on school grounds.

The state records for that kind of “weapons” incident showed that type of report had never happened from 2011 to 2013.  In fact, Cherokee County Schools did not report any incident at any school during that period.

Gaffney police reports show otherwise.

The reports show several weapons charges, several more drug violations at one attempted murder charge.

None appear in state records.

Asked if the state would take action to correct the oversight, Zais said, “Well the state doesn't hold them accountable. That's what your locally elected school board is for.  Now our general assembly set in place reporting requirements but there's no mechanism in place for us to punish the school that don't comply."

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