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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2009
NCES 2010-012
December 2009

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 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, 2007, through June 30, 2008, there were 43 school-associated violent deaths in elementary and secondary schools in the United States (figure 1.1 and tables 1.1 and 1.2). 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 include students, staff members, and others who are not students. School-associated violent deaths include those that occurred while the victim was on the way to or returning from regular sessions at school or while the victim was attending or traveling to or from an official school-sponsored event. Of the 43 student, staff, and nonstudent school-associated violent deaths occurring between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008, 36 were homicides, 6 were suicides, and 1 was a legal intervention (table 1.2). Data for school-associated violent deaths for the 2007–08 school year are preliminary.10

At-school and away-from-school homicide and suicide data were drawn from a number of sources. The most recent data available for total suicides of youth ages 5–18 are for the 2006 calendar year; the most recent data available for total homicides of youth ages 5–18 are for the 2006–07 school year.11 During 2006–07, there were 1,748 homicides of youth ages 5–18 (figure 1.2 and table 1.1). During the 2006 calendar year, there were 1,296 suicides of youth ages 5–18. From July 1, 2007, through June 30, 2008, there were 21 homicides and 5 suicides of school-age youth (ages 5–18) at school (figure 1.1 and table 1.1). In each year during the period 1992–93 to 2006–07, there were at least 50 times as many homicides of youth away from school than at school and generally at least 150 times as many suicides of youth away from school than at school. During the 2007–08 school year, there was approximately one homicide or suicide of a school-age youth at school per 2.1 million students enrolled.12

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 (figure 1.1 and table 1.1). Between the 1992–93 and 2007–08 school years, from 1 to 9 school-age youth committed suicide at school each year, with no consistent pattern of increase or decrease in the number of suicides. The percentage of youth suicides occurring at school remained at less than 1 percent of the total number of youth suicides over all available survey years.

This indicator has been updated to include 2007–08 data. For more information: Tables 1.1 and 1.2 and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008a).

10 Data from School Associated Violent Deaths Surveillance Study (SAVD) from 1999–2000 onward are considered preliminary. For more information on this survey, please see appendix A.
11 Data on total suicides are available only by calendar year, whereas data on suicides and homicides at school and data on total homicides are available by school year. Due to these differences in reference periods, please use caution when comparing violent deaths at school to total violent deaths. Data for total suicides 2007 and total homicides 2007–08 are not yet available.
12 The total number of students enrolled in prekindergarten through 12th grade during the 2007–08 school year was 55,579,330 (Snyder, Dillow, and Hoffman 2009).

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