The Kentucky Center for School Safety has released its 11th annual Safe Schools Data Project.

The report tracks disciplinary action taken against Kentucky public school students who have violated board of education policy or criminal law on school grounds.

Center Executive Director Jon Akers says the statistics covering 2010 are generally encouraging.

“When you look at overall suspension rates for board violations, we have gone from 80,000 plus to 62,000 plus, so I’m seeing some good trends there. Is it perfect? The answer’s no, but we’re certainly looking a lot better than we did five years ago,” he said.

Board violations can include disrupting class, failing to report for detention and tobacco use on campus. Akers says disciplinary actions for crimes such as assault and theft are generally down, but officials are concerned about a rise in prescription drug abuse and cyber-bullying.

Akers says overall, he believes the trends reflect a diligence by Kentucky administrators and teachers to improve school safety.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."