FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Danbury High School led the state in student arrests in 2011, exceeding the state average and greatly surpassing the number of students arrested in Fairfield County schools, according to a new study released this week by Connecticut Voices for Children.
Danbury High School had 104 student arrests in 2011 – more than any other school in Connecticut – but districtwide Danbury schools ranked fifth-highest in the state. Notably, Stamford High School, which enrolled 1,811 students, also made the top of the list with 47 arrests that year. The Stamford School District ranked 10th in the state in student arrests.
The average statewide rate of student arrests was 5.7 arrests per thousand students, the report said. Danbury schools averaged 11.7 arrests per thousand and Stamford schools averaged 5.0 arrests per thousand.
The following list of school districts within The Daily Voice’s Fairfield County coverage area shows how many students were arrested in 2011, according to the comprehensive statewide report from Connecticut Voices for Children:
- Danbury (10,343 enrolled) – 121 arrests
- Darien (4,820 enrolled) – 10 arrests
- Easton (1,098 enrolled) – 0 arrests
- Fairfield (10,153 enrolled) – 18 arrests
- Greenwich (8,842 enrolled) – 28 arrests
- New Canaan (4,123 enrolled) – between one and five
- Norwalk (11,050 enrolled) – 53 arrested
- Redding (1,243 enrolled) – 0 arrests
- Ridgefield (5,419 enrolled) – 10 arrests
- Stamford (15,281 enrolled) – 76 arrested
- Stamford Academy (138 enrolled) – 8 arrests
- Weston (2,521 enrolled) – between one and five
- Westport (5,772 enrolled) – 7 arrests
- Wilton (4,315 enrolled) – between one and five
Students in the school districts of Bridgeport, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, New London, Waterbury and Windham were arrested nine times more often than students in the nine suburban districts in Fairfield County, according to the report.
Although the study began years before the Newtown school shooting tragedy, Connecticut Voice for Children said its project took on a new level of importance in the light of the many school districts that discussed making enhancements to safety.
The report shows that student arrests in Connecticut schools have declined statewide in recent years. It suggests that many students were arrested for behaviors that may have not have been criminal and could have been handled within the school without police involvement. Racial and ethnic differences in arrest rates also suggest a need for uniform criteria for decisions about arresting students in school, the report said.
During the 2011 school year, 2,936 Connecticut students, or 0.5 percent, were arrested, which was a 3.1 percent decrease from the 3,029 students arrested in 2010 and a 13.5 percent decline from the peak of 3,396 student arrests in 2008, the report said.
The leading top five behaviors that led to student arrest in school districts with high-arrest rates in 2011 were listed as fighting, altercation and physical aggression (21 percent); drugs, alcohol, tobacco (19 percent); physical altercation (12 percent); battery and assault (8 percent); and weapons (6 percent).
To read the full data report, click here.