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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2008
NCES 2009-022
April 2009

Indicator 10: Students' Reports of Being Called Hate-Related Words and Seeing Hate-Related Graffiti

In 2007, 10 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that someone at school had used hate-related words against them, and 35 percent had seen hate-related graffiti at school.

In the 2007 School Crime Supplement29 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 at school.30 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. With regard to hate-related words, students were asked to specify the characteristic to which the word was directed.31 In 2007, 10 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that someone at school had used hate-related words against them during the school year (figure 10.1 and table 10.1). Thirty-five percent of students reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year.

In 2007, students' experiences of being called specific types of hate-related words and seeing hate-related graffiti differed according to student and school characteristics. For example, a smaller percentage of 12th-graders (6 percent) reported being targets of a hate-related word than 6th-graders (12 percent); 7th-graders, 8th-graders, and 9th-graders (11 percent each); and 10th-graders (9 percent). A higher percentage of public school students reported being called a hate-related word and seeing hate-related graffiti than did private school students. In 2007, 10 percent of public school students reported being called a hate-related word and 36 percent reported seeing hate-related graffiti compared to 6 percent of private school students who reported being called a hate-related word and 19 percent who reported seeing hate-related graffiti. A higher percentage of White students and students of other races/ethnicities than Asian students reported seeing hate-related graffiti. However, no other measurable differences were found by race/ ethnicity or by sex in the percentages of students who reported being called hate-related words or seeing hate-related graffiti.

Between 2001 and 2007, the percentage of students who reported being the target of a hate-related word decreased from 12 to 10 percent. Between the two most recent survey years, 2005 and 2007, the percentage of students who reported being the target of a hate-related word was lower in 2007 (10 percent) than in 2005 (11 percent). There was no pattern of increase or decrease in the percentage of students who reported seeing hate-related graffiti between 1999 and 2007. However, the percentage of students who reported seeing hate-related graffiti was smaller in 2007 (35 percent) than in 2005 (38 percent).

With regard to the specific characteristic to which the hate-related word was directed, in 2007, 5 percent of students reported hate-related words concerning their race, 3 percent reported words related to their ethnicity, 2 percent each reported words concerning their religion or gender, and 1 percent each reported words related to their disability or sexual orientation (figure 10.2 and table 10.2).

Students' experiences of being targets of specific types of hate-related words in 2007 differed according to their sex and race/ethnicity (table 10.2). A greater percentage of female students than male students (3 vs. 1 percent) reported being called a gender-related hate word. However, a greater percentage of male students than female students reported being called hate-related words relating to race and ethnicity. Five percent of male students compared to 4 percent of female students reported being targets of a hate-related word regarding race and 4 percent of male students compared to 2 percent of female students reported being targets of a hate-related word regarding ethnicity. A smaller percentage of White students (3 percent) reported being called race-related hate words than Black students (7 percent), Hispanic students (6 percent), Asian students (11 percent), and students from other race/ethnicities (8 percent). Smaller percentages of both White students and Black students (2 percent each) reported hate-related words regarding their ethnicity than Hispanic and Asian students (7 percent each).

This indicator has been updated to include 2007 data. For more information: Tables 10.1 and 10.2 and Bauer et al. (2008).

29 In 2005 and 2007, the unit response rate for this survey did not meet NCES statistical standards; therefore, interpret the data with caution. In 2007, the reference period was the school year, whereas in prior survey years the reference period was the previous 6 months. Cognitive testing showed that estimates from 2007 are comparable to previous years. For more information, please see appendix A PDF File (301 KB).
30 "At school" includes the school building, on school property, on a school bus, and, from 2001 onward, going to and from school.
31 "Hate-related" refers to derogatory terms used by others in reference to students' personal characteristics.

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