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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2005

Indicator 11:
Studentsí Reports of Being Called Hate-Related Words and Seeing Hate-Related Graffiti

In 2003, 12 percent of students ages 12-18 reported that someone at school had used hate-related words against them, and more than one-third (36 percent) of students ages 12-18 had seen hate-related graffiti at school.

A student’s exposure to hate-related words or symbols at school may increase that student’s feeling of vulnerability. Discriminatory behavior in schools can create a hostile environment that is not conducive to learning (Cobia and Carney 2002). In the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, students ages 12-18 were asked if someone at school had called them a derogatory word having to do with their race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation during the previous 6 months. In the 2003 administration of the survey, they were then asked to specify the characteristic to which the hate-related word was directed.

In 2003, 12 percent of students ages 12-18 reported that someone at school had used hate-related words against them (table 11.1). Four percent of respondents reported that the hate-related words concerned their race, about 2 percent each reported that the words concerned their ethnicity or gender, and 1 percent each reported that the words were related to their religion, disability, or sexual orientation (table 11.2). In 1999, 2001, and 2003, students were also asked if they had seen hate-related graffiti at their school—that is, hate-related words or symbols written in classrooms, bathrooms, hallways, or on the outside of the school building (table 11.1). In each survey year, 36 percent of students saw hate-related graffiti at school.

Students’ experiences of being called specific types of hate-related words in 2003 differed according to their sex and race/ethnicity (table 11.2). Not surprisingly, females were more likely to report gender-related hate words than males (4 vs. 1 percent), and White students were less likely to report race-related hate words than students of other race/ethnicities (2 percent of White students vs. 7 percent of Black students, 5 percent of Hispanic students, and 9 percent of students in other racial/ethnic groups).

In 2003, differences were detected according to urbanicity and sector in students’ reports of being called hate-related words or seeing hate-related graffiti (figure 11.1 and table 11.1). Urban students were more likely than rural students to see graffiti and more likely than suburban students to be called a hate-related word, but no other differences were detected according to urbanicity. Public school students were more likely than their private school counterparts to report seeing graffiti, but no such difference was detected in the likelihood of being called a hate-related word.

Figure 11.1. Percentage of students ages 12-18 who reported being targets of hate-related words and seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the previous 6 months, by selected student and school characteristics: 2003

Percentage of students ages 12-18 who reported being targets of hate-related words and seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the previous 6 months, by selected student and school characteristics: 2003

1 Other includes Asians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians (including Alaska Natives), and students who indicated they were more than one race. For this report, non-Hispanic students who identified themselves as more than one race in 2003 (1 percent of all respondents) were included in the other category. Respondents who identified themselves as being of Hispanic origin are classified as Hispanic, regardless of their race.
NOTE: “At school” was defined as in the school building, on school property, on a school bus, or going to and from school.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2003.
View Table 11.1 View Table 11.1View Table 11.2 View Table 11.2


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