by Dr. Tim Markley, Superintendent
I was recently invited to a meeting about the Juvenile Reinvestment Act (Raise the Age). At this meeting, there was a review of juvenile data related to courts and criminal charges. The data showed an incredible drop in the number of charges and offenses. These reductions correspond to the enactment of our school justice partnership between New Hanover County Schools, the DA’s office, local law enforcement and the court system. The partnership was formalized in 2014, and now four years later, it continues to have a positive impact on what is happening with students in New Hanover County.
We have also seen a reduction in the number short-term suspensions since signing the partnership agreement. Short-term suspensions have gone from 4,618 to 4,014 – a reduction of over 600 in just four years.
In 2014, there were 300 school-based complaints to law enforcement, which accounted for 64% of all juvenile complaints. Now, over three years later the number is 151 – nearly a 50% reduction, and it accounts for only 38.2% of all juvenile complaints.
Data from the Department of Public Safety shows similar improvements. Highlights from the report include:
- 24% reduction in the number admission to the Juvenile Detention Center since 2012 (District 5, New Hanover and Pender)
- 54% reduction in school bases complaints since 2012 (District 5, New Hanover and Pender)
- 46% decrease in overall juvenile complaints since 2012 (District 5, New Hanover and Pender)
- Youth Development Center commitments have gone from 11 to 3 since 2012 (District 5, New Hanover and Pender)
There is still a long way to go with this partnership, but the data is moving in the right direction. The partnership is a great example of what can be accomplished when agencies come together to do what is right for students. My hope is to share this data again, and it shows even greater progress. So let me close by saying – THANK YOU to ALL of the partners who made these improvements possible!