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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2012
NCES 2013-036
2013

Indicator 1: Violent Deaths at School and Away From School

Over all available survey years, the percentage of youth homicides occurring at school remained at less than 2 percent of the total number of youth homicides, and the percentage of youth suicides occurring at school remained at less than 1 percent of the total number of youth suicides.

Violent deaths at schools are rare but tragic events with far-reaching effects on the school population and surrounding community. In this indicator, data on school-associated violent deaths were collected using the School-Associated Violent Deaths Study (SAVD). The most recent data collected for this survey cover the period from July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011. During this period, there were 31 school-associated violent deaths in elementary and secondary schools in the United States (figure 1.1 and tables 1.1 and 1.2). A school-associated violent death is defined as "a homicide, suicide, or legal intervention (involving a law enforcement officer), in which the fatal injury occurred on the campus of a functioning elementary or secondary school in the United States." 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. Victims of school-associated violent deaths include not only students and staff members, but also others who are not students or staff members, such as parents. Of the 31 student, staff, and nonstudent school-associated violent deaths occurring between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011, there were 25 homicides and 6 suicides (table 1.2). Data for school-associated violent deaths for the 201011 school year are preliminary until interviews with law enforcement personnel have been completed.

Data on homicides and suicides at school and away from school were drawn from a number of sources. The "away from school" data were included in order to compare "at school" and "away from school" violent deaths. The availability for data on homicides and data on suicides at-school and away-from-school differs by period. The most recent data available for total suicides of school-age youth (ages 518) are for the 2010 calendar year; the most recent data available for total homicides of youth are for the 200910 school year.2 During 200910, there were 1,396 homicides of youth (figure 1.2 and table 1.1). During the 2010 calendar year, there were 1,456 suicides of youth. From July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011, there were 11 homicides and 3 suicides of school-age youth at school (figure 1.1 and table 1.1). During the 201011 school year, there was approximately one homicide or suicide of a school-age youth at school per 3.5 million students enrolled.3

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 199293 and 201011 school years, from 1 to 10 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 201011 data. For more information: Tables 1.1 and 1.2, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008), (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5702a1.htm).


2 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 homicides (201011) are not yet available.
3 The total number of students enrolled in prekindergarten through 12th grade during the 201011 school year was 49,484,181 (Snyder and Dillow 2012).


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