A task force of Ramsey County parents, teachers, and community members issued a report on school safety Thursday, saying that organizations need to build better relationships with youth, and get training working with young people who have experienced trauma.
Recommendations in the report are aimed at schools, police departments and other county agencies.
"What's really important as a next step is some self-reflection. Where do individual municipalities see themselves in this report and how could they change and adjust their practices?" group co-chair Jeremiah Ellis said.
Ramsey County attorney John Choi called the group last winter in response to incidents of school violence.
The task force of 39 people met over seven months. The resulting report includes data on offenses in Ramsey County schools that were referred to the county attorney's office.
Most of those offenses occurred in the county's biggest district, St. Paul. But St. Paul's total number of offenses decreased by almost a third from 2012 to 2015.
The report also notes a spike in one category of assault - fourth degree assault on a school official or police officer. Cases of that offense jumped sharply from 15 in 2014 to 34 in 2015. Looking farther back at data only on assaults on school officials, 2015 numbers are comparable to 2005 and 2006.
The report shows that black students are far more likely than students of other races to be involved in the offenses. Recommendations suggested staff at county agencies should better reflect Ramsey County's racial and cultural diversity. The task force also suggested training for staff to help them work with people of varying backgrounds.
"These challenges are complex and multi-faceted; solving them will require each of us ... to step outside of our silos and be more intentional," Choi said in a statement.
The report advised outlining clearer descriptions of police officers' roles in schools - a step that St. Paul schools took in a new police contract the district approved last summer.