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Eye on Jacksonville noted last year that Jacksonville had the highest rate of school safety incidents in the state. But the latest figures show improvement.

The School Environmental Safety Incidents Rate (SESIR) data are for crimes and rules violations during the school year. They are published by the Florida Dept. of Education based on numbers reported by each district.

With more than 12,000 incidents, Duval had a rate of nearly 95 per 100,000 students in 2017. Other large districts had much lower rates.

The rate for the state as a whole was about 25.

In 2018, the trend continued.

For that year, the local schools led the state again, with fewer incidents, 9,739, and a lower rate – 76.8. Still it led Hillsborough, Broward, Orange, Palm Beach and Dade.

The state has compiled numbers for the 2018-2019 school year but has not computed the rate for each district, for some reason.

In 2019, the number of incidents reported dropped precipitously to 5,343. That is less than half the number reported two years earlier.

At the same time, the percentage of incidents in which the police took action went up substantially, from less than 9 percent to more than 17 percent.

In previous years, Jacksonville had one of the lowest rates of police taking action on violations of school safety, which includes everything from homicides to fights.

In summary, recently there have been fewer cases of crime and violence in the public schools, and more action being taken on those that do occur. This seems like a welcome change, and perhaps a trend.

Eye on Jacksonville asked the school administration to explain the change in numbers and will publish it if we get a response.

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Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.

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