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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2005

Indicator 17:
Studentsí Perceptions of Personal Safety at School and Away From School

In 2003, 6 percent of students ages 12-18 reported that they had been afraid of attack at school or on the way to and from school during the previous 6 months. Ten percent of urban students reported being fearful, compared to 5 percent each of suburban and rural students.

School violence can make students fearful and affect their readiness and ability to learn. Concerns about vulnerability to attacks are detrimental to a positive school environment (Scheckner et al. 2002). In the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, students ages 12-18 were asked how often they had been afraid of attack "at school or on the way to and from school" and "away from school" during the previous 6 months.12

In 2003, 6 percent of students ages 12-18 reported that they had been afraid of attack at school or on the way to and from school, and 5 percent reported that they had been afraid of attack away from school. In 1999 and 2001, students were more likely to report they were afraid of being attacked at school or on the way to and from school than away from school; however, in 2003, no such difference was detected (figure 17.1 and table 17.1). The percentage of students who reported that they were afraid of being attacked at school or on the way to and from school decreased from 12 percent in 1995 to 6 percent in 2003; however, no difference was detected in the percentage of students who feared such an attack between the most recent survey years, 2001 and 2003.

In 2003, female students were more likely than male students to fear for their safety both at school and away from school. In the same year, Black and Hispanic students were more likely than White students to fear for their safety regardless of location (figure 17.2 and table 17.1). Eleven percent of Black students and 10 percent of Hispanic students reported that they were afraid of being attacked at school or on the way to and from school, compared with 4 percent of White students. Away from school, 10 percent of Black students, 7 percent of Hispanic students, and 4 percent of White students reported that they were afraid of an attack.

In 2003, grade level was inversely related to students' likelihood of fearing an attack at school or on the way to and from school: as grade level increased, their likelihood of fearing an attack decreased. In the same year, 10 percent of 6th-graders, 6 percent of 9th-graders, and 4 percent of 12th-graders feared for their safety at school or on the way to and from school.

In addition, school location was related to students' fear of attack. In 2003, students in urban schools were more likely than students in suburban and rural schools to fear being attacked both at school or on the way to and from school and away from school. Ten percent of students in urban schools feared being attacked at school, compared with 5 percent each of their peers in suburban and rural schools. In the same year, public school students were more likely than private school students to fear an attack at school (6 vs. 3 percent), but no such difference was detected when they were asked whether they feared an attack away from school (5 percent each).


12 In 1995 and 1999, students reported fear of “attack or harm” at school or on the way to and from school during the previous 6 months. In 2001 and 2003, students reported fear of “attack or threat of attack” at school or on the way to and from school during the previous 6 months. Includes students who reported that they sometimes or most of the time feared being victimized in this way.


Figure 17.1. Percentage of students ages 12-18 who reported being afraid of attack or threat of attack during the previous 6 months, by location: Selected years, 1995-2003

Percentage of students ages 12-18 who reported being afraid of attack or threat of attack during the previous 6 months, by location: Selected years, 
1995-2003

1 Data for 1995 are not available.
NOTE: In 1995 and 1999, students reported fear of “attack or harm” at school or on the way to and from school during the previous 6 months. In 2001 and 2003, students reported fear of “attack or threat of attack” at school or on the way to and from school during the previous 6 months. Includes students who reported that they sometimes or most of the time feared being victimized in this way. “At school” was defined as in the school building, on school property, on a school bus, or going to and from school. Includes students who reported that they sometimes or most of the time feared being victimized in this way.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey, selected years, 1995-2003.
Figure 17.2. Percentage of students ages 12-18 who reported being afraid of attack or threat of attack during the previous 6 months, by location and race/ethnicity: 2003

Percentage of students ages 12-18 who reported being afraid of attack or threat of attack during the previous 6 months, by location and race/ethnicity: 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: In 1995 and 1999, students reported fear of “attack or harm” at school or on the way to and from school during the previous 6 months. In 2001 and 2003, students reported fear of “attack or threat of attack” at school or on the way to and from school during the previous 6 months. Includes students who reported that they sometimes or most of the time feared being victimized in this way. “At school” was defined as in the school building, on school property, on a school bus, or going to and from school. Includes students who reported that they sometimes or most of the time feared being victimized in this way.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2003.
View Table 17.1 View Table 17.1


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