Report on violence numbers in local schools

TRI-CITIES - Violence in our local schools is a frightening though. KEPR uncovered a new report that details just how often it's happening. We poured over the numbers to see where things have improved - and why.

Fights and acts of violence at school. It's something Collin Kincaid is thankful he's only seen once at River's Edge.

"At my school, a lot of people are like family," said River's Edge Collin Kincaid.

Collin says he notices more cyber-bullying than physical violence.

"If you got a problem with somebody, we just talk it out," added Kincaid.

Because of that, Collin wasn't surprised to hear Richland didn't suspend or expel a single person for violence in its schools. The figures are part of a yearly state report for the school year ending in 2012.

For Pasco Schools -- suspensions dropped by almost 30 percent year to year for violence that didn't result in a major injury. Suspensions were steady year to year for Kennewick. As for reports of violence that resulted in *major injury -- Kennewick didn't suspend a single student compared to three suspended the previous school year.

Administrators still say the figures can be misleading because of how it's reported -- which can be subjective.

"You might have one incident that resulted in a couple injuries," said Kennewick School District Communication Director Lorraine Coooper.

Pasco reported two kids suspended in connection to violence with major injury. No incidents were reported in Richland.

School officials say programs on campus help prevent violence. Encouraging students to come forward and share concerns. So does the work of school resource officers.

Kennewick School District even started a school survey for students -- so they can allocate resources to needed areas.

"We'll get better and better at making a safe learning environment," explained Cooper.

And so students like Collin -- can be safe.

"I hope that we can just all get along," said Kincaid.

So that violence doesn't get in the way of learning.

Our figures reported on what the state considers violence. Under this umbrella - assault and harassment fall under the idea of violence without major injury.

Now, there is a whole separate category - just for fighting.
And under that - suspensions rank in the hundreds.

Richland and Pasco both suspended fewer kids for fighting in the most recent school year. Kennewick suspended about a quarter more than it did the year before.