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SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT SAYS VIOLENCE IS DOWN

April 17, 2001 – Insular School Superintendent Rosalia Payne sharply disagreed with remarks about school violence made Tuesday by Glen Smith, St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers president.
Smith had said in an interview on WVWI Radio One that "our members are reporting too many threats being made against adults in authority, verbal and physical assaults against students, and student disorder on our campuses."
Smith said that several years ago "the level of violence and student disorder in our public schools was approaching epidemic levels. This led to the formation of several territorial task forces and a "zero tolerance policy." Now, Smith said, we are "losing the handle once again."
In a release issued Tuesday, Smith said too many guns, knives and other weapons were being found in our schools. "We suspect that not all of these incidents are being reported or recorded in our statistical bank." He said he was going to request that Payne review the data "which would prove or disprove our assumption that student violence and disorder is on the rise again in our schools."
Payne replied, "That is not true. Violence has not increased; as a matter of fact, the violence has decreased." Payne noted that in her two years as superintendent, there has not been one incident involving a gun.
"I called all my junior high and high school principals when I heard Glen's remarks," Payne said, "and they were as surprised as I was. Some schools have had no incidents all year."
That is not to say there haven't been some incidents, Payne added, "but nothing alarming." She said Smith was in her office last week and didn't mention anything about his suspicions of violence.
"I think he is doing a great disservice to our community and to the students by going to the media," Payne said. "We need to focus on the positive things that are happening in the schools.
She said the schools have mentoring, conflict resolution and character education programs in place. "We sometimes have to recommend expulsion of a child, but we do everything we can before we expel them."
Smith said that he was looking forward to meeting with Payne and that he wasn't "pointing fingers at anybody."
"If there's a problem, we want to work together and take a look at what can be done," he said. "We don't want to close the barn door after the horse gets out."

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April 17, 2001 – Insular School Superintendent Rosalia Payne sharply disagreed with remarks about school violence made Tuesday by Glen Smith, St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers president.
Smith had said in an interview on WVWI Radio One that "our members are reporting too many threats being made against adults in authority, verbal and physical assaults against students, and student disorder on our campuses."
Smith said that several years ago "the level of violence and student disorder in our public schools was approaching epidemic levels. This led to the formation of several territorial task forces and a "zero tolerance policy." Now, Smith said, we are "losing the handle once again."
In a release issued Tuesday, Smith said too many guns, knives and other weapons were being found in our schools. "We suspect that not all of these incidents are being reported or recorded in our statistical bank." He said he was going to request that Payne review the data "which would prove or disprove our assumption that student violence and disorder is on the rise again in our schools."
Payne replied, "That is not true. Violence has not increased; as a matter of fact, the violence has decreased." Payne noted that in her two years as superintendent, there has not been one incident involving a gun.
"I called all my junior high and high school principals when I heard Glen's remarks," Payne said, "and they were as surprised as I was. Some schools have had no incidents all year."
That is not to say there haven't been some incidents, Payne added, "but nothing alarming." She said Smith was in her office last week and didn't mention anything about his suspicions of violence.
"I think he is doing a great disservice to our community and to the students by going to the media," Payne said. "We need to focus on the positive things that are happening in the schools.
She said the schools have mentoring, conflict resolution and character education programs in place. "We sometimes have to recommend expulsion of a child, but we do everything we can before we expel them."
Smith said that he was looking forward to meeting with Payne and that he wasn't "pointing fingers at anybody."
"If there's a problem, we want to work together and take a look at what can be done," he said. "We don't want to close the barn door after the horse gets out."