Disagreement Surrounding School Safety Data in Worcester County Public Schools

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The Worcester County Board of Education held a news conference today regarding crime data within the Worcester County Public School system and gave a presentation. The Worcester County Board of Education refers to one slide–titled “Accuracy. Transparency.” According to the BOE, the slide includes current year school safety data that clearly shows a downward trajectory for referrals in their school system, which is in direct opposition to the State’s Attorney and Sheriff’s assertions that crime is on the rise in the schools. Also, according to Worcester County Public Schools, law enforcement officials utilized the 2019-2020 student referral data to calculate their comparisons but emphasize that schools were closed from mid-March through the end of the school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On the next slide, they state that using the same methodology as law enforcement officials, the school system made calculations using the 2018-2019 school year referral data as it was the last pre-pandemic full year of school.

The Talk of Delmarva’s Joe Ciccanti was at the press conference, which was held at the Worcester County Board of Education office in Newark, MD:

The Office of the State’s Attorney for Worcester County and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office has released a joint statement in response to what was presented at the press conference. Here is their statement:

From the Office of the State’s Attorney for Worcester County and The Worcester County’s Sheriff’s Office:

“The BOE President and Superintendent’s attempt to defend their reputation and minimize
the amount of violence in our schools does nothing to reassure the public that they are making
safety a priority. Despite their best efforts to label the Sheriff and State’s Attorney as liars and
data-manipulators, their press conference today confirmed the two main points that law
enforcement has been making for months: (1) that crime in schools is rising at an unacceptable
rate and (2) that none of law enforcement’s recommendations to improve school safety have
been implemented by Worcester County Public Schools.
Now that the Board of Education and Superintendent have publicly acknowledged these
two facts, we once again call on them to take immediate action on these recommendations to
improve safety in our schools. State’s Attorney Heiser and Sheriff Crisafulli remain ready to
support, advise and assist school leadership in this mission, and will continue to provide
transparency for the public moving forward.”

Despite the conflicting information and disagreements, both sides have expressed a willingness to work together.

Here is the slide presentation from Worcester County Public School officials:


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