| G. Michael Dobbs
SRPINGFIELD – School Superintendent Daniel Warwick told the School Committee that arrests have been dramatically decreased in the city’s schools.
Warwick presented the information at the April 27 meeting.
In the 2015-2016 school year, there were nine arrests at Central High School, 10 at the High School of Commerce, five at Putnam Technical and Vocational Academy and six at Sci-Tech. Add in the other schools and the total was 80. In 2014-2015, the total was 185; and 191 for both 2013-2014 and for 2012-2013.
“Arrests have decreased very radically,” Warwick said. He credited the decrease to a number of factors including the improved climate of the schools, the work of police officers assigned to the schools as well as the efforts of staff and faculty.
Mayor Domenic Sarno said he was glad to receive the updated data and said critics of the school district have made the claim there is a “school to prison pipeline.”
Sarno called that description “absolutely ridiculous.” He added, “It’s misinformation. It’s fake. We’ve made tremendous headway.”
Arrests are the last resort to resolving an issue, the mayor said. Warwick added there is a diversion program that keeps minor offenses committed by students out of the courts.
The School Committee’s attorney, Melinda Phelps, explained that in past years the statistics included anyone arrested on school property and in the last four years the numbers actually depict student offenses.
The School Committee also congratulated the honorees in this year’s Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards. Each teacher was escorted by his or her principal to receive his or her award from Sarno and to receive personal greetings by each member of the committee.
This year the recipients included: Boland: Sara Boissonneault; Bowles: Lizmyra Theriault; Brookings: Dora Tochil; Central High: Dylan Burakiewicz, Sarah Stone and John Szymczyk; Chestnut TAG: Molly Smith; DeBerry: Sharon DaSilva, Catherine Kabochi and Ashleigh Malinowski; District: Lynn Santa; Dorman: Elizabeth Beele; Ells: Cheryl Elias; Forest Park: Kara Adams; Freedman: Vanessa Williams; Indian Orchard: Katie Potito; Kensington: Danielle Delgado; Kiley: Kelly O'Brien; Public Day Middle: Jonelle Monaco; Renaissance: Samantha Edwards; Sci-Tech: Jennifer Cherry, Lisa Gaudreau, Jessica Johnson, Tuyet Nguyen; Sumner Ave: Kiaga Osborn-Johnson; Warner: Terri Longo; and White Street: Margaret Tabb.