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Regional & National

Assaults account for most school crime in Tennessee

May 15th, 2009 12:00 am by Staff Report

The Tennessean is reporting that simple assaults accounted for most of the criminal offenses committed in Tennessee schools from 2006 to 2008, according to a report released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on Thursday.

The report marked the TBI's first effort to quantify school-related crimes committed by students in grades K-12, based on numbers submitted by state law enforcement agencies. The School Crimes Study revealed 30 percent of all school-related crimes were assaults, including fistfights. Fists, feet and teeth were the most common "weapons" Tennessee students used.

The Thursday report doesn't break down the numbers by county or school but lumps them together by the type of offense. It also includes some crime statistics that happened on college campuses.

"That information is helpful but only to a degree because it's painted with such a broad stroke. It really doesn't give us comparison, which I'd like to see," said David Burton, safety director for the 15,000-student Wilson County school district.

The report also breaks down the numbers by the offender's race and age, among other factors.

"Most of our violations are with dress code and cell phones and then you've got the fights," Burton said. So far this school year, the district recorded 234 assaults, as compared with 271 last academic year, he said.

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