New polling data shows a strong majority of HRM residents believe that violence in the municipality’s schools is a concern.

Out of 500 respondents in the CityThink survey, 42 per cent said they completely agree that violence in schools is a major concern. Another 38 per cent said they mostly agree with the same statement.

“I think that everybody would say any type of violence is a ‘concern,’” Halifax Regional School Board spokesman Doug Hadley said of the result.

He does not think, however, that violence in HRM schools is a problem.

“I’m not sure if it’s a perception people have ... or if there’s a real issue here that we have to address,” he said.

According to Hadley, the school board’s own data shows that violent incidents in schools have been on the wane in recent years. He also said an “overwhelming number” of parents are responding favourably to a similar question asked by the school board.

Halifax Regional Police Chief Frank Beazley said people may be concerned about school violence because those incidents fall under what police call “signal crimes” — incidents of a shocking nature that stick in people’s minds.

He also complimented the school board, saying it does a good job of taking care of students.

“I think the school administration, the teachers and the principals do an excellent job,” he said. “Is there an incident from time to time that happens in the schools? It does happen. (But) I think it’s more rare in HRM.”

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