Superintendent: Huntsville school arrest numbers not a problem - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Superintendent: Huntsville school arrest numbers not a problem

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Wardynski said this year's arrests are about seven percent lower than they were last year. Wardynski said this year's arrests are about seven percent lower than they were last year.

Huntsville school superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski said the numbers of arrests at city schools are not something to worry about and may even be a good sign of high standards.

Huntsville Police records show that city police and school resource officers have made 81 arrests of students at Huntsville City Schools in the first quarter of this school year.

Some parents have complained that's too many of their kids being hauled off in handcuffs.

"We have a no tolerance approach," said Wardynski at a Huntsville School Board meeting Thursday evening. "If you're going to misbehave in a school, we're not going to have you hanging around disrupting education; it's going to turn into an arrest."

Huntsville Police report the number of arrests in city schools is roughly in line with what it was at this point year ago and Wardynski said it's actually about seven percent lower than it was then.

The overwhelming majority of arrests were for disorderly conduct in school but others were for students accused of bringing drugs or weapons in from outside, or stealing property from inside a school.

The arrest numbers are proportionally higher than those reported in other Alabama school systems, like Birmingham.  Wardynski contends that reflects better still on Huntsville's approach.

"Huntsville expects safe schools, safe communities.  That may not be the case in other cities," he said.  "They may have a whole different approach to capturing statistics.   If a policeman is involved, it's going to get written down.  It's going to become a statistic.  That's not the case in Mobile.  That's not the case in Birmingham." 

Wardynski said some arrests also stem from outside issues, like fights or feuds, which students have brought into school with them or even police coming into school for crimes committed by students elsewhere.

"The police know where the kids are, if they're in school," he observed. "If they're looking for him back at the house and they don't find him there for a crime he committed, maybe a robbery at the Dollar General, they come to school and arrest him.   That's an arrest at school. What we want is safe schools.  So if a kid's a criminal, and he's in the school and the police come and arrest him and take him out of school, that's fine with us." 

For the entire 2011-12 school year, Huntsville Police records show there were 372 arrests in city schools.  If the remaining three quarters of this school year see exactly the same number there were in the first quarter, there will be a total of 324 for the 2012-13 year.

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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