18 May, 2016
For youth to accomplish their potential in school, schools should be safe and secure places for all students, teachers, and staff members. Without a safe learning environment, teachers may have challenges teaching and students may have difficulty learning.
Gauging the safety of the school environment, however, may be hard given the large amount of attention devoted to isolated incidents of extreme school violence nationwide.
Making sure safer schools requires establishing good indicators of the current state of school crime and safety across the nation and periodically monitoring and updating these indicators. Indicators of School Crime and Safety is designed to provide an annual snapshot of specific crime and safety indicators, covering topics such as victimization, fights, bullying, classroom disorder, teacher injury, weapons, and student perceptions of school safety. In addition to covering a wide range of topics, the indicators are built on information drawn from a wide range of sources, including surveys of students, teachers, and principals, and data collections by federal departments and agencies such as the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
*Information Derived from U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education*
Death at School
From July 1, 1999, through June 30, 2000, there were 32 school-associated violent deaths in the United States (Indicator 1). Twenty-four of these violent deaths were homicides and 8 were suicides. Sixteen of the 24 school-associated homicides includes school-aged children. These 16 homicides are a relatively small percentage (1 percent) of the total of 2,124 children ages 5–19 who were victims of homicide over the same period. Six of the 8 school-associated suicides from July 1, 1999, through June 30, 2000, involved school-aged children. Away from school, there were a total of 1,922 suicides of children ages 5–19 during the 2000 calendar year.
The percentage of students who reported having fear of being attacked at school or on the way to and from school decreased from 12 percent in 1995 to 6 percent in 2001. No difference was detected between the most recent survey years, 2001 and 2003, in the percentage of students who are afraid of such an attack (Indicator 12). In 1999 and 2001, students were more likely to be afraid of being attacked at school or on the way to and from school than away from school; however, in 2003, no difference was detected in the percentage of students who reported fear of an attack at school and those fearing an attack away from school.
* Between 1993 and 2003, the percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported carrying a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club on school property within the previous 30 days declined—from 12 percent to 6 percent (Indicator 11).
* In 2003, 4 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that they had avoided one or more places in school (Indicator 13). Between 1995 and 1999, the percentage of students ages 12–18 who avoided one or more places in school decreased from 9 to 5 percent, but no difference was detected in the percentage of students who did so in 1999, 2001, and 2003 (between 4 and 5 percent in each year).
* In 2003, 12 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that someone at school had used hate-related words against them (Indicator 14). That is, in the previous 6 months, someone at school had called them a disparaging word related to race, religion, ethnicity, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. During the same period, about 36 percent of students ages 12–18 saw hate-related graffiti at school.
* In 2003, 21 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that street gangs were present at their schools (Indicator 15). Students in urban schools were the most likely to report the presence of street gangs at their school (31 percent), followed by suburban students and rural students, who were the least likely to do so (18 and 12 percent, respectively).
* In 1999–2000, public school principals were asked to report how often certain disciplinary problems occurred at their schools. Twenty-nine percent reported that student bullying occurred on a daily or weekly basis and 19 percent reported that student acts of disrespect for teachers occurred at the same frequency (Indicator 16). Additionally, 13 percent reported student verbal abuse of teachers, 3 percent reported occurrences of student racial tensions, and 3 percent reported widespread disorder in the classrooms on a daily or weekly basis.
* In 2003, 5 percent of students in grades 9–12 had at least one drink of alcohol on school property in the 30 days prior to the survey, and 45 percent of students had at least one drink anywhere (Indicator 17).
* In 2003, 22 percent of students in grades 9–12 reported using marijuana anywhere during the previous 30 days, and 6 percent reported using marijuana on school property (Indicator 18).
* In 2003, 29 percent of students in grades 9–12 reported that someone had offered, sold, or given them an illegal drug on school property in the 12 months prior to the survey (Indicator 19).