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Gaston ranks again as safest large school district

Immediate Release
February 2, 2017
Contact: Todd Hagans
Chief Communications Officer
Office: (704) 866-6118
Cell: (704) 718-0279
E-mail: tthagans@gaston.k12.nc.us

Gaston ranks again as the state’s safest large school district
School crime and violence rate is lower than the state rate for seventh year

Gastonia, N.C. – Gaston County Schools continues to rank as the safest large school district in North Carolina, according to data released today by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction and State Board of Education.

Of the ten largest school districts in the state, Gaston County has the lowest school crime and violence rate. Gaston’s rate for the 2015-2016 school year is 3.740, which is the district’s lowest rate over the past three years. Last year, the rate was 4.073, and it was 4.723 in 2013-2014.

A Mount Holly Police Office is pictured with a student. “We are extremely pleased to see a decrease in our school crime rate for the third consecutive year,” stated Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker. “The school crime data is an indication that our on-going, concentrated focus on comprehensive school safety and security is paying off.”

Gaston’s rate of 3.740 is significantly lower than the state rate of 6.62. The state saw a decrease in its overall school crime rate for 2015-2016, dropping from 6.89 in 2014-2015. The rate is based on the number of acts of school crime per 1,000 students.

The school crime rate for Gaston County Schools has been significantly lower than that state rate for the past seven years, and when compared to neighboring school districts, Gaston also has the lowest rate.

“We have consistently ranked as one of the safest school districts in the Charlotte region, and when compared to school districts across the state that are similar in size, we continue to be the safest school district,” continued Booker, who is the Southwest Region Superintendent of the Year for 2016-2017. “Maintaining safe schools is a priority because we know that in order for our teachers to teach and our students to learn, the school environment must be safe.”

Booker attributed Gaston’s low school crime rate to the district’s strong partnership with law enforcement, investment in security equipment and safety initiatives, and school employees always keeping safety in mind.

“Most significant is our excellent partnership with law enforcement in Gaston County,” added Booker. “We would not have an outstanding school safety record year after year without the support and commitment from the Gaston County Police Department, sheriff’s office, city police departments, and other agencies.”

Over the past three years, Booker said the school district has updated camera surveillance equipment, upgraded the school visitor check-in system, installed buzz-in entry technology, added school resource officers, and taken other important measures.

Called the 2015-2016 Consolidated Data Report, it provides information about school crime and violence for the 2015-2016 academic year. It also includes data about short-term and long-term suspensions, expulsions, and corporal punishment for public school districts and charter schools across the state. The full report is available online at www.ncpublicschools.org.

Suspensions and Expulsions
Gaston County Schools had 6,972 short-term suspensions in 2015-2016. The district had 13 long-term suspensions, but no student expulsions. Statewide, there was an increase in the number of short-term suspensions (1 to 10 days) for 2015-2016.

Corporal Punishment
Gaston County Schools does not use corporal punishment; therefore, no data is available. However, it is used in four of the 115 school districts in the state.

High School Dropout Rate
The state calculates a high school dropout rate for each school district to reflect the number of students who dropped out of school during the 2015-2016 year. A dropout is defined as a student who attended any part or all of the 2015-2016 school year and did not return to school for the 2016-2017 year. Gaston County Schools’ dropout rate for 2015-2016 is 2.29, which is the same as the state average. Gaston had 235 students to drop out of school in 2015-2016 compared to 204 the previous year. Five years ago, Gaston had 450 students to drop out of school during the 2010-2011 academic year.

The following charts provide comparison information about the Gaston County Schools acts of crime, short-term and long-term suspensions, and expulsions for the past seven school years and the dropout rate for the past ten years. Chart I shows the school crime rates. Chart II provides the number of student suspensions and expulsions. Chart III includes the dropout rates for Gaston County and North Carolina.

Chart I – Seven-Year Comparison of Acts of Crime – Grades K-13
  • 2015-2016 – Gaston County Schools – 3.740      State school crime rate: 6.62 
  • 2014-2015 – Gaston County Schools – 4.073      State school crime rate: 6.89
  • 2013-2014 – Gaston County Schools – 4.723      State school crime rate: 6.79
  • 2012-2013 – Gaston County Schools – 3.519      State school crime rate: 7.20
  • 2011-2012 – Gaston County Schools – 3.81        State school crime rate: 7.63 
  • 2010-2011 – Gaston County Schools – 4.11        State school crime rate: 8.03
  • 2009-2010 – Gaston County Schools – 5.07        State school crime rate: 7.97 

* The school crime rate for Gaston County Schools has been significantly lower than the state rate for the past seven years.

Chart II – Seven-Year Comparison of Suspensions and Expulsions

GCS Suspensions and Expulsions – 2015-2016
  • 2015-2016 – Short-term Suspensions – 6,972
  • 2015-2016 – Long-term Suspensions – 13 
  • 2015-2016 – Expulsions – 0
■ GCS Suspensions and Expulsions – 2014-2015
  • 2014-2015 – Short-term Suspensions – 6,375
  • 2014-2015 – Long-term Suspensions – 9
  • 2014-2015 – Expulsions – 0
■ GCS Suspensions and Expulsions – 2013-2014 
  • 2013-2014 – Short-term Suspensions – 4,579
  • 2013-2014 – Long-term Suspensions – 0 
  • 2013-2014 – Expulsions – 0
■ GCS Suspensions and Expulsions – 2012-2013
  • 2012-2013 – Short-term Suspensions – 6,643
  • 2012-2013 – Long-term Suspensions – 31 
  • 2012-2013 – Expulsions – 1
■ GCS Suspensions and Expulsions – 2011-2012
  • 2011-2012 – Short-term Suspensions – 6,811
  • 2011-2012 – Long-term Suspensions – 22 
  • 2011-2012 – Expulsions – 0 
■ GCS Suspensions and Expulsions – 2010-2011 
  • 2010-2011 – Short-term Suspensions – 6,213
  • 2010-2011 – Long-term Suspensions – 46 
  • 2010-2011 – Expulsions – 2 
■ GCS Suspensions and Expulsions – 2009-2010
  • 2009-2010 – Short-term Suspensions – 6,684
  • 2009-2010 – Long-term Suspensions – 51 
  • 2009-2010 – Expulsions – 1
■ Chart III – Ten-Year Comparison of Dropout Rate – Grades 9-13
  • 2015-2016 – 2.29 dropout rate.       State dropout rate: 2.29
  • 2014-2015 – 2.02 dropout rate.       State dropout rate: 2.39 
  • 2013-2014 – 1.84 dropout rate.       State dropout rate: 2.28
  • 2012-2013 – 1.61 dropout rate.       State dropout rate: 2.45
  • 2011-2012 – 3.43 dropout rate.       State dropout rate: 3.01 
  • 2010-2011 – 4.46 dropout rate.       State dropout rate: 3.43
  • 2009-2010 – 4.43 dropout rate.       State dropout rate: 3.75 
  • 2008-2009 – 5.60 dropout rate.       State dropout rate: 4.27
  • 2007-2008 – 5.69 dropout rate.       State dropout rate: 4.97
  • 2006-2007 – 6.29 dropout rate.       State dropout rate: 5.24