Berny Morson of the Rocky Mountain News reports on a briefing yesterday put on by Pam Benigno of the Independence Institute. Months of interviews and research have gone into the still-ongoing findings about how fights and assaults are reported on Colorado’s School Accountability Reports (SAR). The short story of a complicated topic? Reporting violent incidents in schools is a lot closer to obscure legal technicality than common sense. Perhaps you remember the story of a student murdered in a Denver high school cafeteria, recently reported as a “Dangerous Weapons” incident. This anecdote is only the most extreme and striking of many points of confusion on the SAR.
Parents and taxpayers deserve a clearer and fairer picture of the atmosphere of their schools, rather than the distorted view currently presented. The fault lies with the current law, not with school officials or law enforcement. Republican Senator Ed Jones of Colorado has introduced Senate Bill 55, which will take a couple important positive steps in improving the way assaults and fights are reported in schools. His bill will be heard in the Senate Education Committee this afternoon. It will be interesting to see how the proposed legislation fares in the hands of a Democratic majority heavily influenced by interest groups keen on seeing the SAR disappear or, at least, be stripped of any useful qualities.