Pennsylvania schools have seen an increase in unsolved bomb threats in its public schools over the last three academic years, but a general decrease in terroristic threats, according to data from the state Department of Education.
An Associated Press analysis of school threat data found the disruptions are increasing nationwide at the expense of students’ learning time and local police departments’ resources.
The state department has provided data gathered annually from Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts. More than 1.7 million students attend Pennsylvania public schools.
A look at Pennsylvania school threat statistics from 2012-2014:
UNSOLVED BOMB THREATS
Districts reported 132 unsolved bomb threats made to and within schools during the 2014-2015 school year. That number is an increase compared to the 88 unsolved bomb threats reported in 2013-2014 and 82 in 2012-2013.
Bomb threats are elevated to terroristic threat cases when an offender is identified as having made the threat. Terroristic threat cases include an array of threats made to schools, not only those involving bomb claims.
Pennsylvania schools saw a general decline in terroristic threats during the 2014-2015 school year with 548 cases compared to 560 cases in 2013-2014 and 565 in 2012-2013.
Terroristic threats include solved bomb threats and any direct or indirect threat to commit violence to terrorize, evacuate buildings and create public inconveniences.
Pennsylvania schools have recorded more than 500 terroristic threat cases each year since the 2009-2010 school year.
HANDGUNS, RIFLES OR SHOTGUNS, FIREARMS AND BB GUNS
Handgun, rifle or shotgun and other firearm possessions are some of the rarest weapon possessions in Pennsylvania schools. They collectively increased with 62 cases in 2013-2014 compared to 42 in 2013-2014 and 48 in 2012-2013.
Handguns were more common than rifles or shotguns and firearms each year.
Schools reported 156 students in possession of a BB or pellet gun in 2014-2014, but the small increase from the previous year’s 139 reported incidents was low in comparison to years that recorded up to 229 BB or pellet gun cases.
Students were most commonly in possession of knives during the 2014-2015 in comparison to other weapons. Pennsylvania schools recorded 1,279 cases of students in possession of a knife that school year.