Clifton, NJ: Spike in elementary school violence

June 23, 2017, Clifton schools report spike in violence, drop in drugs The jump in violent cases in city schools from last year’s report is a point of contention for district officials. Elementary School 11, on Merselis Avenue, which reported 29 violent incidents last year, recorded 28 during the 2016-17 year. Elementary Schools 12, 13, 14, 15 and 17 saw their combined violent numbers increase from 11 last year to 45 this year. “This is a major issue,” Commissioner Tafari Anderson said. ... “It is my professional opinion that the current climate in our country has given rise to more aggressive behavior and violence,” Salzano said. “Our students are exposed to daily information through social media that reflects hate speech, divisive language and gun violence at every turn. I truly feel this will result in society normalizing this behavior, and our children are watching.” Salzano stipulated that one student can account for a multitude of offenses. All five incidents of violence reported at the School 8 annex were committed by a single student, he said. Anderson said special-education students who have behavioral issues may also represent examples of violence that distort the overall portrait of violence in Clifton schools. “A student may have a behavioral issue and not understand that it’s inappropriate to touch in a certain manner, but that still falls under this report,” Salzano agreed.