A new group will look into what's causing violence in Ramsey Co. schools

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A new task force will look into what's contributing to incidents of violence in Ramsey County schools.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced the formation of the Community Task Force on Safe Schools Thursday.

“We have spent the past several months talking with superintendents, educators and other school staff, teachers, students, parents, and others in our community who care deeply about our schools and are invested in being part of the solution," Choi said in the news release.

He called for a task force last December following a surge of violence in St. Paul schools. At that time, Ramsey County had handled 27 cases relating to students attacking school officials – a figure that was almost double the number of cases from the year before.

The task force

The task force will present final recommendations to the community in early 2017.

Jeremiah Ellis, the director of partnerships at Generation Next, and Suzanne Kelly, of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, will lead the task force. Nearly 40 parents, students, teachers, school resource officers, youth workers and others are also members of the task force. Click here to see a full list.

The county attorney is also asking members of the community to give their input, either through an online survey (available from July 25-Aug. 12) or at a community conversation meeting on July 25 at 5 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Community Recreation Center.

Violence in MN schools

A Bureau of Justice Statistics report released earlier this year shows 6.5 percent of teachers at public schools in Minnesota had said they had actually been physically attacked by a student during the 2011-12 school year (the most recent year of data available).

This was also above the national average of 5.8 percent.

And 11.4 percent of teachers in Minnesota public schools said they had been threatened by a student during that same school year. 

That's above the national average of 10 percent, and was the highest percentage ever for the survey, which has been done every four years since the 1999-2000 school year.

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