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Weapons Incidents Rise By 61% In Public Shools

FOR THE RECORD: Wednesday, March 15, 1995 CORRECTION: East Valley School District’s weapons incidents fell from 12 in 1992-93 to eight last school year. Thoses included five firearms incidents in 1992-93 and none in 1993-94. The wrong numbers were reported in an article Tuesday.

Weapons incidents in Spokane County public schools increased 61 percent last school year, according to a state report made public Monday.

Across the state, weapons incidents in schools were up 35 percent from 2,237 in 1992-93 to 3,018 in 1993-94.

More than one-third of the state’s 296 school districts reported no weapons incidents. The weapons-free districts included tiny Great Northern and Orchard Prairie districts in Spokane County.

Private schools were not immune to the problem.

Although not required to report weapons incidents, 336 private schools reported 29 incidents, including two involving firearms. The report did not identify the private schools.

In Spokane School District 81, an increase in firearms appears to be continuing this year, said student services supervisor Mary Brown.

Nine gun incidents have been reported so far this school year in District 81, compared to six for all of last year, Brown said.

Students brought guns onto school property at three Spokane high schools, two middle schools and two alternative schools this year, Brown said. Only one incident involved a non-student.

The report to the Legislature from state Superintendent Judith Billings recommends attacking drug and alcohol abuse, supporting families and teaching children to be critical viewers of violence in the media.

“It is no longer enough to simply hire more police officers, or build jails, detention centers, and alternative schools,” the report says.

For the past two years, Washington school districts have been required to report weapons incidents.

The incidents include cases where students or non-students brought guns, pellet guns, knives, martial arts throwing stars and other weapons onto campuses or school buses.

During the 1993-94 school year, school districts in Spokane County experienced 132 weapons incidents, including 16 involving firearms.

Central Valley School District’s weapons incidents went up from eight to 17 in the two years reported. The district’s gun incidents rose from one to three.

Cheney School District’s weapons incidents went from one to six. Gun incidents went up from zero to two.

East Valley School District’s weapons incidents fell from 11 reported in 1992-93 to eight last year. The district had no gun incidents either year.

Freeman School District had one knife incident each year.

Liberty School District reported three weapons incidents last year and zero the previous year. None involved firearms.

Mead School District saw its total weapons incidents rise from six to 23. The totals included one gun incident the first year and two the second year.

Nine Mile Falls School District’s weapons incidents fell from five to one. There were two gun incidents the first year and one the second year.

Riverside School District’s weapons incidents rose from four to seven. There were two firearms incidents the first year and one the second year.

Spokane School District saw an increase from 29 to 45 weapons incidents. Those included five gun cases the first year and six the second year.

West Valley School District’s weapons incidents rose from 11 to 18. Firearms incidents increased from zero to one.