Police reports shed light on violence and violent threats in Little Rock schools

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An inspection of police records reveals what might be the most violent schools in the Little Rock School District so far this school year.

District-wide, Little Rock police officers worked roughly 120 reports that the department classified as “violent crimes” at Little Rock schools so far this school year. These happened at various schools in the district, ranging from assault and battery to terroristic threatening and disorderly conduct.

Of the 120 violent crime reports, J.A. Fair High School accounted for the most, tallying at least 30 of them, according to police records. Of the 30 violent crime reports at J.A. Fair, 17 were actual fights or attempted fights among students and sometimes leading to injuries for faculty members.

Across the district this school year, at least five LRSD faculty members suffered injuries while trying to restrain students or by getting caught near an act of violence, according to police records.

Hall and Central High Schools round out the top three most-violent schools. At least 16 violent crime reports took place at Hall so far this school year while Central reported 13.

At least 10 fights or attacks were reported at Hall; 2 were reported at Central, police records show.

At least four times at J.A. Fair alone, students have threatened violence against teachers or administrators, often using vile and vulgar language.

Officer Eric Barnes with the Little Rock Police Department confirms that 22 officers are assigned to various schools in the Little Rock School District, along with two supervisors — totaling 24 law enforcement officers. All high schools and middle schools have at least one school resource officer; some high schools have two, according to Barnes.

There’s always avenues to take before it comes to a fight or a brawl,” Barnes says.

“We have those officers in the school to help deter anything from happening… we want to try to take minimal action.”

Barnes says officers try to avoid making an arrest if the incident is something that can be handled with district policy enforcement.

The Little Rock School District also employees security guards, which make the rounds at schools as well.

The Little Rock School District responded to the numbers with the following statement from Ron Self, the security and safety director for the district:

“It is rather difficult to respond to this as this is not an accurate representation. Please keep in mind that just because a police report is completed, it does not mean that there were criminal charges filed.  Anyone has the ability to have a police report completed and the existence of one does not paint an accurate picture of what is occurring on that campus. Among other variables they could include things that happened after hours or even a warrant arrest for something that occurred off campus.”

As far as student arrests are concerned in comparison to last year from Aug 1 – Nov 29th, high schools as a whole are down 73% overall, while J.A. Fair in particular is down 61%.  As these numbers more accurately predict the climate I would venture to say that we are making positive progress as far as student arrests are concerned.

Safety and security is of utmost priority and we will continue to be vigilant while also working with LRPD and various other community resources to further reduce our number of student arrests.”

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