Education Secretary Backs Public Boarding Schools: 'Certain Kids We Should Have 24/7'

By Penny Starr | May 12, 2015 | 3:03 PM EDT

U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan spoke on May 12, 2015 st the National Summit on Youth Violence Prevention in Crystal City, Va. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Tuesday proposed the idea of public boarding schools, saying there are "just certain kids we should have 24/7."

“One idea that I threw out … is the idea of public boarding schools,” Duncan said at the National Summit on Youth Violence Prevention in Crystal City, Va. “That’s a little bit of a different idea--a controversial idea--but the question is do we have some children where there’s not a mom, there’s not a dad, there’s not a grandma, there’s just nobody at home?”

“There’s just certain kids we should have 24/7 to really create a safe environment and give them a chance to be successful,” he said.

The event, organized by the Education Department, the Justice Department, and other federal programs and agencies, featured speakers and panels on preventing youth violence.

Material distributed by the Centers for Disease Control’s “Striving to Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere” states, “Youth violence is a public health crisis in the United States. Homicide is the third leading cause of death of young people, with an average of 16 youth murdered every day. More than 700,000 young peoples, ages 10 to 24, were treated in emergency departments for physical assault-related injuries in 2010.”

Duncan said that schools should be more than a place for learning at the event.

“I think all of our schools should be community centers,” Duncan said. “Our schools should be open 12, 13, 14 hours a day with a wide variety of after-school programming.

“Thankfully, in the vast, vast majority of communities around the nation, our schools are actually safe havens,” Duncan said. “[There’s] very little violence happening in schools.

“The vast majority is on the streets,” Duncan said. “If we could keep our kids there longer, we think that makes a lot of sense.”

However, according to a “fact sheet” from the federal National Center for Education Statistics, some 1.3 million students ages 12 to 18 faced “victimization” at school in 2012, including 89,000 “serious violent victimizations.” The fact sheet also states that students faced more violence at school than away from school.

The fact sheet states: “In 2012, students ages 12–18 were victims of about 1,364,900 nonfatal victimizations at school, including 615,600 thefts and 749,200 violent victimizations, 89,000 of which were serious violent victimizations. The victimization rates for students in 2012 varied according to student characteristics.

“Between 1992 and 2012, the total victimization rates for students ages 12–18 generally declined both at school (from 181 to 52 per 1,000) and away from school (from 173 to 38 per 1,000). This pattern also held for thefts, violent victimizations, and serious violent victimizations,” it stated.

“In 2012, a greater number of students ages 12–18 experienced victimizations (theft and violent crime) at school than away from school. That year, 52 victimizations per 1,000 students occurred at school, and 38 victimizations per 1,000 students occurred away from school,” it stated.

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