The Duval County Public Schools is discussing ways to make its schools safer and to improve how it reports crimes.
This all stems from a grand jury report looking into school safety that found DCPS staff failed to report over 2,000 crimes to the state database.
Last week, the Florida Department of Education said it believed DCPS was still underreporting crimes that occur on school grounds.
School board members met at Springfield Middle School to take a close look at data that shows DCPS has improved its crime reporting since the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) began reviewing its procedures in 2016. It disputes FDOE’s claim that it’s still violating the law.
An excerpt from the data shows that in the 2016-2017 school year, DCPS was falling behind in reporting School Environmental Safety Incident Reporting System offenses to law enforcement, at 8% of incidents compared to 34% across the state.
But by the 2020-2021 school year, that number was up 32%; even higher than the state average of 31%.
Therefore, DCPS says this contradicts the FDOE’s assessment, which it shared in a letter last week saying that DCPS is continuing to violate state law by underreporting crimes.
The school board says the district is improving its reporting process by doing monthly check-ins to make sure data is correct, which is more than the current FDOE requirement of checking data twice a year.
It has also put in place error messages on its reporting system in case something is filled out incorrectly, and district staff can now have access to those forms and check them. Plus, it is requiring district wide training for all its district staff and police officers.
The district says officials with FDOE’s Office of Safe Schools were visiting six different DCPS schools last Thursday. It expects an updated report from FDOE tobe available by the end of the week.
The district added that it’s open to any recommendations in that report.
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