In a recent
story in the Seattle P-I about violent crime in the Seattle Public Schools, many people asked for data on individual schools. The District did not provide the data. Moreover, the President of the Seattle School Board told the newspaper that she didn't see any point in providing crime data on individual schools. "I don't know if that would be helpful," she said, adding that it would be more beneficial to provide parents with safety tips to share with their children.
This answer is deeply troubling to me in three ways.
First, we don't hesitate to provide academic data on individual schools. We don't hesitate to provide discipline data, demographic data, all kinds of other data on individual schools. Why should we balk at crime data? Information wants to be free. The District is supposed to be working towards more openness, honesty, and transparency.
Second, the fact that the District doesn't have this data indicates that the District has not taken an interest in this data. They measure anything they want to manage. The fact that they haven't measured this indicates that they aren't trying to manage this. I think that the District should take a greater interest in controlling crime on their property committed by and against people to whom they owe responsibility.
Third, I am VERY troubled that the President of the School Board thinks that our children need to know and practice safety tips to avoid violent crime at school. This is an admission by the School Board President that the schools aren't already safe. Can you imagine a shopping mall that told you: "please follow these safety steps to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of violent crime while you shop with us"? It is not the students' responsibility to take extraordinary steps. It is the school's responsibility to keep the children safe from violent crime while they are on campus. There should be no need for "safety tips". To say that such tips are necessary is an admission that the space in inherently unsafe. Moreover, it is an abdication of the school's and the district's responsibility to make it safe and keep it safe. And let's remember that we're not talking about generic safety tips like look both ways before crossing the street, make sure your shoes are tied, or wear eye protection. These are safety tips specifically to avoid violent crime. To me, this is synonymous with knowing the current level of violent crime in our schools and finding it somehow acceptable.