Monroe County public schools show decrease in safety incidents

Monroe County eradicates reports of bullying during 2013-14 school year

Monroe County School District's official logo
Monroe County School District's official logo

KEY WEST, Fla. – A 16-year-old girl was arrested after she shared a post that scared a few Monroe County school district students on Snapchat, a popular messaging application.

The Coral Shores High School student shot a "selfie" in the classroom while she was wearing a mask and covering her head with the hood of her jacket. She added a caption that she later said was meant to be a joke.

"Bouta shoot up this class," she said on the Nov. 20, 2014, post that prompted school administrators to pull her out of the classroom and issue a suspension.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested her Dec. 4 on a charge of disorderly conduct. The Snapchat case is one of the type of cases that make it to the annual lists of "School Environmental Safety Incident Reports," released to the Florida Department of Education. 

During the last two reports, Monroe County's school district showed a decrease in most categories of the safety incident reports, except for disruptions on campus, fighting, sexual harassment, tobacco and weapons possession.

DATA CHART: Changes on safety incident reports during the last two school years

The Conch Republic's schools didn't report any bullying last year, records show. It may have been eradicated because of an emphasis on a program that is meant to educate students on the consequences of using social media to intimidate others.


DISTRICT TREND: For two years, drug use was the highest category of safety incident reports in the Monroe County School District.

TOP ON DRUG USE:  The Monroe County School District had the highest percentage of drug use reports in South Florida. They were 30 to 25 percent of the district's reports. 

In Broward County, drug use made up about 10 percent of the district's reports, although it had the highest volume of drug use reports in the state. In Miami-Dade County, only three percent of the district's reports were on drug use.


DECREASES: Alcohol, arson, battery, bullying, drug sales, drug use, other major offenses, vandalism and threat and intimidation.

INCREASES: Disruption on campus, fighting, trespassing, sexual harassment, tobacco and weapons possession.

Monroe County Superintendent Mark Porter said that there were "no significant variances or issues with regard to reported incidents" between 2012-2013 and 2013-2014.

"This is not to say that we are unconcerned, as we have great concern for student safety in the school environment," Porter said.

DATA CHART: District safety incident reports

According to the safety reports filed, drug sales were minor during the 2012-2013 school year and vanished during the 2013-2014 school year. Although there was a 28-percent decrease on drug use in the school district, Monroe County had the highest percentage of drug use 2013-2014 reports in South Florida, records show. 

Porter said that there were programs with regard to drug and alcohol prevention at the high school and the middle school level. An example of a successful program was the Keys to Be the Change, a nonprofit that has youth leaders in every high school.

"It takes a village to raise a kid and we are doing everything we can," the organization's executive director, Heidi Golightly, said.

DATA CHART: Top 3 schools on drug use

The organization also has a mentoring program with about two dozen Key West Police Department officers. They are paired up with "at-risk youth, who are either failing or getting into trouble, and the kids just love it," Golightly said.

Officer Deglys Chavarria works with the organization. He also runs the Key West High School police explorers program, which has 28 students. He said some of those students were considered "at-risk," but have changed their ways.

Monroe County public school district's changes

INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC: Click over bars titles of type of incident to view the graphic and browse on the bars to view the exact proportional volume.

Changes in safety incident reports at Monroe County School District

SOURCE: 2012-2013 & 2013-2014 Florida Department of Education records