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

Indicator 18: Students' Reports of Avoiding School Activities or Specific Places in School

In 2005, some 6 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that they avoided school activities or one or more places in school because they thought someone might attack or harm them.

School crime may lead students to perceive school as unsafe, and in trying to ensure their own safety, students may begin to skip school activities or avoid certain places within school (Schreck and Miller 2003). The percentage of students who avoid school activities and certain areas in school is a measure of their perceptions of school safety. In the School Crime Supplement25 to the National Crime Victimization Survey, students ages 12–18 were asked whether they had avoided school activities or one or more places in school because they were fearful that someone might attack or harm them.26 In 2005, some 6 percent of students reported that they had avoided a school activity or one or more places in school in the previous 6 months because of fear of attack or harm. About 2 percent of students avoided a school activity, and 4 percent avoided one or more places in school27 (figure 18.1 and table 18.1).

The percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported that they avoided school activities because they thought someone might attack or harm them there decreased from 3 to 2 percent between 1999 and 2001 and remained at about 2 percent through 2005 (figure 18.1 and table 18.1). Between 4 and 5 percent of students reported avoiding one or more places in school during the same period.

Students' reports of avoiding one or more places in school varied according to their race/ ethnicity. In 2005, Black and Hispanic students (7 and 6 percent, respectively) were more likely than White students or those from some Other racial/ethnic background (4 and 3 percent, respectively) to report avoiding one or more places in school because they were afraid someone might attack or harm them (table 18.2). As in all previous survey years, no measurable difference was detected in the extent to which males and females avoided places in 2005.

Generally, grade level was inversely associated with students' likelihood of avoiding one or more places in school. Eight percent of 6th-graders avoided one or more places in school in 2005, compared with 1 percent of 12th-graders (figure 18.2 and table 18.2).

Consistent with most previous years, students in urban areas in 2005 were the most likely to avoid places in school: 6 percent of urban students reported that they had done so, compared with 4 percent of suburban and rural students. In addition, public school students were more likely than private school students to avoid places in school (5 vs. 1 percent).


25 In 2005, the unit response rate for this survey did not meet NCES statistical standards; therefore, interpret the data with caution. For more information, please see appendix A PDF File (178 KB).
26 For the 2001 survey, the wording was changed from "attack or harm" to "attack or threat of attack." See appendix A PDF File (178 KB) for more information.
27 Avoided a school activity includes avoiding extracurricular activities, skipping class, or staying home from school. Places include the entrance, any hallways or stairs, parts of the cafeteria, restrooms, and other places inside the school building.

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