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

Indicator 15: Students' Use of Alcohol on School Property and Anywhere

In 2005, some 43 percent of students in grades 9–12 reported having at least one drink of alcohol anywhere, and 4 percent had at least one drink on school property in the 30 days before being surveyed.

Students' illegal consumption of alcohol on school property may lead to additional crimes and misbehavior. It may also foster a school environment that is harmful to students, teachers, and staff (Fagan and Wilkinson 1998). In the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, students in grades 9–12 were asked whether they had consumed alcohol at all in the past 30 days (referred to as "anywhere" in this report) and if they had consumed alcohol on school property. Alcohol consumption anywhere is included as a point of comparison with alcohol consumption on school property. In 2005, some 43 percent of students consumed at least one drink of alcohol anywhere, and 4 percent consumed at least one drink on school property (figure 15.1 and table 15.1). The percentage of students who reported drinking alcohol anywhere increased from 48 to 52 percent between 1993 and 1995 and then declined to 43 percent in 2005. No consistent pattern was detected in the percentage of students who reported consuming alcohol on school property between 1993 and 2005: over these years, the percentage fluctuated from 4 to 6 percent.

The likelihood of drinking alcohol varied by student characteristics including sex, grade level, and race/ethnicity. In 2005, males were more likely than females to report using alcohol on school property (5 vs. 3 percent), a difference not found in the percentage who reported drinking anywhere (figure 15.1 and table 15.1). In 2005, students in higher grades were more likely to report drinking alcohol anywhere than were students in lower grades. For example, 51 percent of 12th-graders reported using alcohol, compared with 36 percent of 9th-graders (figure 15.2 and table 15.1). However, no measurable difference was found across grade levels in students' likelihood of drinking alcohol on school property.

In 2005, Asian and Black students were less likely to report using alcohol anywhere than were American Indian, White, or Hispanic students. Twenty-two percent of Asian students and 31 percent of Black students reported using alcohol anywhere, compared with 46 percent of White students, 47 percent of Hispanic students, and 57 percent of American Indian students. In the same year, Hispanic students (8 percent) were more likely to use alcohol on school property than were White, Black, or Asian students (4, 3, and 1 percent, respectively).

In 2005, the percentage of students who reported drinking alcohol varied among states for which data were available. Among states, the percentages ranged from 16 to 49 percent for drinking alcohol anywhere, and from 2 to 9 percent for drinking alcohol on school property (table 15.2).

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