Bullying in Delaware: What is real and what isn’t?

Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn came out with a 2015 report on bullying a few weeks ago.  While he noted a decrease in the amount of bullying substantiated incidents, he also found there to be such a huge decrease that the question of reported incidents is suspect.  Basically, he is stating schools aren’t reporting the reality on the ground.

In looking at the 2013-2014 Annual Bullying Report, as seen below, there are seven charter schools in Delaware with NO substantiated bullying reports.  Of particular interest are two out of the three charter schools that belong to the Red Clay Consolidated School District.  Red Clay authorizes and monitors these charters, and the two charters in this district with no substantiated bullying incidents, Charter School of Wilmington and Delaware Military Academy, do not update their websites with minutes of their board meetings as well.

Once again, in 2012-2013, 8 charters reported NO substantiated bullying incidents.

Out of the local school districts, the following had the biggest decreases between 2012-2013 and 2013-2014:

Appoquinimink: down 67%

Christina: down 42%

Colonial: down 15%

Indian River: down 36%

Lake Forest: down 68%

Laurel: down 22%

New Castle County Vo-Tech: down 22%

But where this gets really interesting is when you take a look at the percentages compared to the entire student body for each district or charter of reported bullying incidents (SBI) in comparison to offensive touching of a student (OTS) and fighting/disorderly conduct (FDC) reports:

Academy of Dover: .64% for SBI, 0% for OTS, .32% for FDC

Appoquinimink: .25% for SBI, 2.1% for OTS, .72% for FDC

Brandyine: .73% for SBI, 5.4% for OTS, 2.2% for FDC

Caesar Rodney: .51% for SBI, 1.0% for OTS, 1.7% for FDC

Campus Community: 2.2% for SBI, 7.7% for OTS, .49% for FDC

Cape Henlopen: .26% for SBI, .20% for OTS, .85% for FDC

Capital: .38% for SBI, 1.1% for OTS, 1.9% for FDC

*Charter School of Wilmington: 0% (970) (School Code Parameter is Missing A Value)

Christina: .23% for SBI, 4.6% for OTS, 4.3% for FDC

Colonial: .37% for SBI, .40% for OTS, .70% for FDC

Delaware Academy of PSS: 0% for SBI, .33% for OTS, 2.1% for FDC

*Delaware College Prep: 4.5% (218) (School Code Parameter is Missing A Value)

*Delaware Military Academy: 0% (568) (School Code Parameter is Missing A Value)

Delmar: .44% for SBI,  .14% for OTS, .16% for FDC

East Side: 1.7% for SBI, 1.5% for OTS, 8.2% for FDC

Family Foundations: .61% for SBI, 1.5% for OTS,  5.1% for FDC

Gateway Lab: 3.8% for SBI, 11.5% for OTS, 4.8% for FDC

Indian River: .26% for SBI, .79% for OTS, .88% for FDC

Kuumba Academy: 0% for SBI, 2.0% for OTS, 2.9% for FDC

Las Americas Aspiras Academy: 0% for SBI, 0% for OTS, 0% for FDC

Lake Forest: .32% for SBI, .48% for OTS, .95% for FDC

Laurel: .84% for SBI, 88% for OTS, . for FDC 2135, 2.6% for FDC

Milford: .62% for SBI, 1.9% for OTS, 1.3% for FDC

MOT: 1.0% for SBI, 0% for OTS, 0% for FDC

Moyer Academy: 0% for SBI, 2.2% for OTS, 17.2% for FDC

Newark Charter: .17% for SBI, .39% for OTS, .11% for FDC

New Castle County Vo-Tech: .15% for SBI, . for OTS, . for FDC

Odyssey: 0% for SBI, .71% for OTS, .14% for FDC

Polytech: .17% for SBI, .17% for OTS, .09% for FDC

Positive Outcomes: 1.7% for SBI, 4.2% for OTS, 1.7% for FDC

Prestige Academy: 5.6% for SBI, 10.1% for OTS, 23.3% for FDC

Providence Creek:  1.1% for SBI,  5.9% for OTS, .28% for FDC

Reach Academy For Girls: .85% for SBI, .85% for OTS, 1.3% for FDC

Red Clay: .80% for SBI, 2.4% or OTS, .23% for FDC

Seaford: .51% for SBI, 1.3% for OTS, 2.8% for FDC

Smryna: .34% for SBI, .68% for OTS, .84% for FDC

Sussex Academy: .24% for SBI, .48% for OTS, 0% for FDC

Sussex Tech: .13% for SBI, .26% for OTS, .07% for FDC

Thomas Edison: .94% for SBI, .13% for OTS, 1.2% for FDC

Woodbridge: .43% for SBI, 1.1% for OTS, 1.2% for FDC

STATEWIDE AVERAGE Substantiated Bullying Reports: .47%

STATEWIDE AVERAGE Alleged Bullying Reports: 1.2%

STATEWIDE AVERAGE Offensive Touching: 2.0%

STATEWIDE AVERAGE Fighting/Disorderly Conduct: 1.9%

While this may seem like very odd data, it tells us many things.  About half the schools report fighting as fighting, while the other half reports it as offensive touching.  So which is it, and why is it not uniform across all schools in Delaware?  Both are reportable offenses in Delaware.  And how many schools aren’t reporting anything?  It sounds like something needs to be put in place to hold these schools in check.  Unfortunately, relying on the Delaware DOE to accurately convey data to the general public is a lesson in futility.  But the schools have a responsibility in this as well.  Parents need to know which schools are safe for their children, and this data is underrepresented and does not give a clear picture.  To be continued I’m sure…