The Brick Township district piled up more instances of reported violence than any other Ocean County school system. That’s 157 incidents in Brick compared to 129 in Toms River.
However, Toms River Regional had the most total incidents of school crime (that’s violence, vandalism, weapons and substance abuse violations), with 223 instances compared to Brick’s 218, according to the annual state Department of Education report for the 2010-2011 school year.
Toms River’s incident breakdown:
- 129 reports of violence
- 27 reports of vandalism
- 14 reports of weapons violations
- 56 reports of substance abuse violations
- There’s 223 total incidents reported, some with multiple violations of both weapons and violence, for example.
In a presentation Wednesday night before the Brick Board of Education, Brick Superintendent Walter Hrycenko said that there were 81 assaults, 49 fights, 19 instances of harassment, intimidation or bullying and one sexual assault reported by district officials to the state Department of Education during the 2010-11 school year.
In Brick, there were 56 substance abuse violations, 10 weapons violations, and four instances of vandalism, according to state reporting. Toms River had 27 reports of vandalism, 14 weapons violations, and 56 substance abuse violations.
In all, according to state records, there were 218 instances of violence, vandalism, weapons and substance abuse violations in the Brick district, which had a student population of 9,961.
Brick board member John Talty said the numbers were troubling.
"In violence, we're ahead of everybody," he said, pointing specifically to the Toms River Regional School District for comparison.
Toms River, which had a much larger student population of 16,995, had fewer reported instances of violence than Brick. Toms River had 129 violent incidents, compared with 153 in Brick.
Another large Ocean County district – Jackson Township with 9,584 students – had just 53 instances of violence reported last year.
Among all Ocean County school districts, Brick had the highest number of violent incidents reported.
"I'm just concerned that somebody will look at this and say, Brick Township is out of control," said Talty. "Why should I move to Brick Township?"
Hrycenko, when asked by Talty to explain the comparatively high rate of incidents, did not specifically address violence, but said that Brick's number of substance abuse violations may have been driven up by the district's random drug testing policy. Toms River does not perform random drug testing, he said.
Hrycenko also said that Brick's central administration stresses the reporting of all its instances of violence to the state.
"Unless somebody can show me that Toms River is not reporting violence, then I have to assume the administrators there are doing what we're doing here," Talty shot back.
To see the full list of school's across the state and the incidents reported, click here: state records.