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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2007
NCES 2008-021
December 2007

Indicator 1: Violent Deaths at School and Away From School

The percentage of youth homicides occurring at school remained at less than 2 percent of the total number of youth homicides over all available survey years even though the absolute number of homicides of school-age youth at school varied to some degree across the years.

Violent deaths at schools are rare but tragic events with far-reaching effects on the school population and surrounding community. From July 1, 2005, through June 30, 2006, there were 35 school-associated violent deaths in elementary and secondary schools in the United States (tables 1.1 and 1.2).3 In this indicator, a school-associated violent death is defined as "a homicide, suicide, legal intervention (involving a law enforcement officer), or unintentional firearm-related death in which the fatal injury occurred on the campus of a functioning elementary or secondary school in the United States." Victims of school-associated violent deaths included students, staff members, and others who are not students. School-associated violent deaths include violent deaths that occurred while the victim was on the way to or from regular sessions at school, or while the victim was attending or traveling to or from an official school-sponsored event. At school and away from school homicides and suicides data were drawn from a number of sources. Data for school-associated violent deaths for the 2005–06 school year are preliminary. Data for total homicides and suicides are available for 2004–05.4

The most recent data available for the total number of homicides of school-age youth are from the 2004–05 school year (figure 1.1 and table 1.1), during which there were 1,534 homicides. In the 2004 calendar year, there were 1,471 suicides of school-age youth. In each school year, youth were over 50 times more likely to be murdered and were over 150 times more likely to commit suicide when they were away from school than at school. From July 1, 2005, through June 30, 2006, there were 14 homicides and 3 suicides of school-age youth (ages 5–18) at school (figure 1.2 and table 1.1). Combined, this number translates into 1 homicide or suicide of a school-age youth at school per 3.2 million students enrolled during the 2005–06 school year.5

Between July 1, 1992, and June 30, 1999, no consistent pattern of increase or decrease was observed in the number of homicides at school (figure 1.2 and table 1.1). During this period, between 28 and 34 homicides of school-age youth occurred at school in each school year. The number of homicides of school-age youth at school declined between the 1998–99 and 1999–2000 school years from 33 to 13 homicides. The number of homicides of school-age youth at school increased from 11 to 21 between the 2000–01 and 2004–05 school years, but dropped to 14 in 2005–06. The percentage of youth homicides occurring at school remained at less than 2 percent of the total number of youth homicides over all available survey years even though the absolute number of homicides of school-age youth at school varied to some degree across the years. Between the 1992–93 and 2004–05 school years, from one to eight school-age youth committed suicide at school each year, with no consistent pattern of increase or decrease.


3 Between July 1, 2005, and June 30, 2006, there were 35 student, staff, and nonstudent school-associated violent deaths, including 26 homicides, 7 suicides, and 2 legal interventions (table 1.2).
4 Data on total suicides are available only by calendar year, whereas data on suicides and homicides at school and total homicides are available by school year. Data for total suicides (2005) and total homicides (2005–06) are not yet available.
5 The total projected number of students enrolled in prekindergarten through 12th grade during the 2005–06 school year was 54,772,000 (U.S. Department of Education 2007).

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