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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2011
NCES 2012-002
February 2012

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

In 2009, about 9 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being targets of hate-related words at school during the school year and 29 percent of students reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school.

The School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey collects data on students' reports of being targets of hate-related45 words and seeing hate-related graffiti at school.46 Specifically, in 2009, students ages 12–18 were asked whether someone at school had called them a derogatory word having to do with their race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. Students also were 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.

In 2009, about 9 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being targets of hate-related words at school and 29 percent of students reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year (figure 10.1 and table 10.1). While the percentage of students who reported being targets of hate-related words in 2009 was not measurably different from the percentage who reported so in 2007 (10 percent), the percentage of students who reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school was smaller in 2009 than in 2007 (35 percent). The percentage of students who reported being targets of hate-related words decreased from 12 percent in 2001 to 9 percent in 2009.

No measurable differences were observed in 2009 in the percentages of males and females who reported being called a hate-related word and seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year. The percentages of male and female students ages 12–18 who reported being called a hate-related word during the school year were not measurably different in 2007 (9 percent each) and 2009 (10 percent each). However, the percentages of male and female students who reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school were lower in 2009 (29 percent each) than in 2007 (34 percent for male students and 35 percent for female students).

Higher percentages of Black students and Hispanic students (11 percent each) reported being targets of hate-related words at school than White students (7 percent) in 2009. In addition, a higher percentage of Hispanic students (32 percent) than White students (28 percent) reported seeing hate-related graffiti.

Few differences were observed across grade levels in the percentages of students who reported being targets of hate-related words. A lower percentage of 12th-graders (6 percent) reported being targets of hate-related words than 7th-graders and 10th-graders (10 percent each), as well as 8th-graders (11 percent).No measurable differences were observed across grades for students' reports of seeing hate-related graffiti at school in 2009, nor were there differences by grade in the percentages of students who reported being called a hate-related word between 2007 and 2009. There were differences at some grade levels, however, in the percentages of students who reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school between 2007 and 2009. For example, about 35 percent of 6th-graders reported seeing graffiti in 2007, compared with 28 percent in 2009.

By school sector, the percentage of public school students who reported being called a hate-related word (9 percent) was not measurably different from the percentage reported by private school students (7 percent) in 2009. In each data collection year between 1999 and 2009, a higher percentage of public school students than private school students reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school. Specifically, for 2009, approximately 31 percent of public school students reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school compared with 12 percent of private school students.

Students who were targets of being called hate-related words at school in 2009 were asked to indicate whether the derogatory word they were called was related to their race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation (figure 10.2 and table 10.2). A higher percentage of male students than female students reported being called a hate-related word with regard to their race (5 percent vs. 4 percent). In turn, a higher percentage of female students than male students reported being called a hate-related word with regard to their gender (3 percent vs. 1 percent).

With respect to being called a hate-related word related to a student's race or ethnicity, White students reported being targets at a lower percentage than their peers. For example, 2 percent of White students reported being called a hate-related word with regard to their race, compared with 8 percent each of Black and Hispanic students. In addition, 1 percent of White students reported being called a hate-related word with regard to their ethnicity, compared with 4 percent of Black students and 7 percent of Hispanic students.

This indicator has been updated to include 2009 data. For more information: Tables 10.1 and 10.2 and DeVoe and Bauer (2011), (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012314).


45 "Hate-related" refers to derogatory terms used by others in reference to students' personal characteristics.
46 "At school" includes the school building, on school property, on a school bus, and, from 2001 onward, going to and from school.


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