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I-Team: School Security Reactions
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - There's lots of reaction to Thursday night's Kalamazoo School Board meeting.
After more than two weeks of dodging the I-Team, Kalamazoo's Superintendent and school board finally commented on the Newschannel 3 investigation that showed the district wasn't reporting crime statistics to the state as directed.
In our investigation, we found that KPS reported zeroes the past few years for sex assaults, physical assaults, and robberies district-wide.
Despite that, we had documentation that there were incidents reported to public safety.
Thursday night, KPS leaders said they didn't have to report it, even though the law says any reporting "shall include at least crimes involving physical violence."
The law goes on to say that there are four good reasons why schools should do this:
- It helps policymakers develop prevention and intervention programs
- It provides continuous long-term assessment
- It helps schools identify pressing issues
- and Reporting data helps create partnerships among schools, communities, and the media.
At the board meeting Thursday night though, Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice said his attorney advised him that the district only has to report a crime if there is ultimately a conviction in court.
We presented to the board the definition in the state's manual to school districts regarding an assault and battery, that if it's reported to the police, it must then be counted as a number to the state.
KPS leaders admitted that they are ignoring the definition of what's needed, in favor of their own legal opinion--that the district doesn't have to do what many other schools in the state have chosen to do to help the process.
The question remains though, if the superintendent is saying a conviction is needed to report the numbers, why didn't the district report any convictions for physical assaults over a long period.
KPS administrators told Newschannel 3 on Thursday that they would reach out to the state for further clarification on the issue.
We asked for clarification ourselves from the State Department of Education, but received no response.
The I-Team will continue to investigate the case and bring you new developments as they come in.