School safety data shows decrease in fights, arrests, 911 calls at Alexandria City Public Schools

Whether it's additional School Resource Officers, pilot programs, or mental health services, Alexandria City School Board members are looking at ways to protect students.

On Thursday evening, the board dissected newly released data on school safety that they are calling "a positive step" compared to previous years. 

The data shared during the board meeting is for the first and second quarter of the 2022-2023 school year. 

From August to December 2022, there were 188 incidents within the school system, including 44 fights and assaults, 15 weapons, and eight threats (verbal and social media).

Knives, brass knuckles, razors, pepper spray, and bb guns are some of the weapons that were confiscated in the first and second quarter.

Of the 188 incidents, the statistics show 78 of them took place at Alexandria City high school campuses, and 71 incidents at middle schools with a total of 74 calls to the Alexandria Police Department.

The numbers are concerning for leaders, but they also revealed a slight decrease in incidents.

During the second semester of 2022 – January to June – there were 194 incidents.

ACPS Board Chair Meagan Alderton said Thursday, "Now is the time to move the needle for these kids. I'm here to help."

The board voted unanimously Thursday to add more help by moving forward with several recommendations including funding for school resource officers.

It's important to note that even though the board did vote to move forward with the talks on school resource officers, ultimately city council determines funding amounts for SROs. 

The board chair says she will meet with city council at the end of February.

The school board also approved a 2023-2024 school year budget during Thursday's meeting. The budget is almost $360 million dollars, which includes school security services, an increase in staff pay, and new buildings.