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

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

In 2009, about 5 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 in school (Schreck and Miller 2003). The percentage of students who avoid school activities and certain areas in school is a measure of their perception of school safety. In the School Crime Supplement 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.56 In 2009, about 5 percent of students reported that they had avoided at least one school activity or one or more places in school during the previous school year because they feared being attacked or harmed. Specifically, 2 percent of students reported that they had avoided at least one school activity, and 4 percent reported that they had avoided one or more places in school57 (figure 18.1 and table 18.1).

While there was no overall pattern of increase or decrease between 1999 and 2009 in the percentage of students who reported that they had avoided at least one school activity or one or more places in school because of fear of attack or harm, the percentage of students who reported this avoidance was lower in 2009 (5 percent) than in 2007 (7 percent). In 2009, about 1 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that they had avoided any activities, 1 percent reported that they had avoided any classes, and 1 percent reported that they had stayed home from school. By school building location, 2 percent of students reported that they had avoided the stairs or hallways, 1 percent reported that they had avoided the entrance to the school, 1 percent reported that they had avoided parts of the school cafeteria, 1 percent reported that they had avoided any school restrooms, and 1 percent reported that they had avoided other places inside the school building.

Students' reports of avoiding one or more places in school because of fear of attack or harm varied by student characteristics (figure 18.2 and table 18.2). In 2009, a higher percentage of Black students (6 percent) than White students (3 percent) reported avoiding one or more places in school (table 18.2). In addition, higher percentages of 6th-graders (7 percent), 7th-graders (5 percent), 8th-graders (5 percent), 9th-graders (4 percent), and 10th-graders (4 percent) reported avoiding one or more places in school than 12th-graders (2 percent) and 11th-graders (1 percent). No measurable differences were detected between the percentages of female and male students who avoided one or more places in school in 2009 (4 percent each).

In 2009, school locale also was related to students' reports of avoidance of places in school out of fear of attack or harm. A higher percentage of students in urban schools (6 percent) than in suburban schools (3 percent) reported avoiding one of more places during the school year.

This indicator has been updated to include 2009 data. For more information: Tables 18.1 and 18.2 and DeVoe and Bauer (2011), (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012314).


56 For the 2001 survey, the wording was changed from "attack or harm" to "attack or threat of attack." See appendix A for more information.
57 "Avoided school activities" includes avoiding any (extracurricular) activities, skipping class, or staying home from school. In 2007 and 2009, the survey wording was changed from "any extracurricular activities" to "any activities." Please use caution when comparing changes in this item over time. Avoiding one or more places in school includes avoiding the entrance, any hallways or stairs, parts of the cafeteria, restrooms, and other places inside the school building.


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