The Dickinson Police Department's school resource officers dealt with over 400 incidents in Dickinson Public Schools last school year, an increase from previous years.
Of that 400, about 45% were from Dickinson High School, 23% were from Dickinson Middle School and 32% were from the elementary schools. Southwest Community High School had just four incidents.
These numbers are up from last year — though not by a large amount. Last year, DPS had 372 recorded incidents. DHS' share in the incidents was just 36% that year.
Brandon Stockie, the school resource officer for Dickinson High School, said he believes the increase of incidents comes partly from the increase in the number of students.
"I know every year we've increased in numbers, but we've also increased with students, and then we've increased SROs. We used to have one ... Last year was our first year with two of them. All that stuff factors into it," he said.
The high school saw the largest increase in number of incidents, from 134 in '17-'18 to 196 in '18-'19.
Stockie reports that the officers have seen an increase in mental health issues at a younger age, vaping and tobacco use, assaults, disorderly conducts and unruly acts and marijuana use.
"I guess I pretty much expect it. When you're working there, you see it everyday. I knew tobacco was going to be up a lot, because we were just dealing with more and more kids with vaping," he said.
Stockie said this seems to be a trend state-wide, as other SROs have reported increases in the same areas.
"They're all saying the same thing, that vaping's going up, mental health in young students is going up, marijuana charges are going up," he said.
Half of the 139 charges from DPS were related to tobacco use, including vaping. There were 25 disorderly conduct charges, 22 unruly conduct charges, 13 drug offenses and 9 assaults in the district last year.
"Unruly is a charge an adult can't get ... By law, kids can't do whatever they want ... In schools, it's as easy as 'Hey, stay in the classroom,' and a kid is yelling, screaming but doesn't hit anybody ... but is not doing what he's told, storming out of the classroom, slamming door, that's unruly. Disorderly would be anything to harass, annoy or alarm someone else," Stockie said.
Sometimes a student's actions can be both unruly and disorderly.
"We might have a kid who is cursing or yelling in a classroom, which could be disorderly because he's harassing, annoying, disrupting education, but we might charge him as unruly just because of the age of the child. You know, he's an elementary kid. Unruly's not really a crime, where disorderly conduct is, and juvenile court looks at them a little different," Stockie said.