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

Indicator 15: Students' Use of Alcohol on School Property and Anywhere

In 2011, about 39 percent of students in grades 9–12 reported having at least one drink of alcohol anywhere during the previous 30 days, and 5 percent had at least one drink on school property. Among female students, the percentage who reported consuming alcohol anywhere decreased from 2009 to 2011, while the percentage who reported consuming alcohol on school property increased.

Alcohol consumption on school property is an illegal behavior of students, which may lead to additional crimes and misbehavior (Kodjo, Auinger, and Ryan 2003). In the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, students in grades 9–12 were asked if they had consumed alcohol anywhere during the previous 30 days and if they had consumed alcohol on school property during the same time period.34 Consuming alcohol "anywhere" in this indicator is included as a point of comparison with consuming alcohol on school property. In most states, purchase or public possession of alcohol anywhere by students in grades 9–12 is illegal, since most students are under the state’s minimum legal drinking age. Overall, the percentage of students who reported consuming alcohol anywhere during the previous 30 days decreased from 48 percent in 1993 to 39 percent in 2011. The percentage of students who reported consuming alcohol on school property in the previous 30 days in 2011 was not measurably different from the 1993 percentage (5 percent each; figure 15.1 and table 15.1).

In 2011, about 19 percent of students in grades 9–12 reported using alcohol anywhere on 1 or 2 days during the previous 30 days (table 15.2). Eighteen percent reported using alcohol anywhere on 3 to 29 of the previous 30 days, and one percent reported using alcohol anywhere on all of the previous 30 days. In addition, 3 percent of students reported using alcohol on school property on 1 or 2 of the previous 30 days, 1 percent of students reported using alcohol on school property on 3 to 29 of the previous 30 days, and one-half percent of students reported using alcohol on school property on all of the previous 30 days.

In the survey years since 2003, there have been no measurable differences between the percentages of male and female students who reported consuming alcohol anywhere on at least one of the previous 30 days (figure 15.1 and table 15.1). However, in 2011 there were differences by sex in the number of days students reported having used alcohol. A higher percentage of males than females reported consuming alcohol anywhere on 3 to 29 days (19 vs. 17 percent) and all 30 days (1 percent vs. less than one-half percent; figure 15.2 and table 15.2).

In every survey year between 1993 and 2009, a higher percentage of males than females reported using alcohol on school property (figure 15.1 and table 15.1). However, in 2011 there was no measurable difference between the percentages of male and female students reporting consuming alcohol at least one day on school property (5 percent each). In 2011, a higher percentage of male than female students reported consuming alcohol on school property on all of the previous 30 days (1 percent vs. less than one-half percent).

From 2009 to 2011, there was no measurable change in the percentages of male students who reported alcohol consumption anywhere or on school property. Among females, however, the percentage of students who reported alcohol consumption any where decreased from 43 percent in 2009 to 38 percent in 2011, and the percentage of female students who reported alcohol consumption on school property increased from 4 to 5 percent over the same time period (figure 15.1 and table 15.1).

In 2011, about 48 percent of 12th-graders reported consuming alcohol anywhere at least one day during the previous 30 days (figure 15.3 and table 15.1). This percentage was higher than the 2011 percentages for 9th-graders (30 percent), 10th-graders (36 percent), and 11th-graders (43 percent). In addition, a higher percentage of 12th-graders (27 percent) than 9th- graders (11 percent), 10th-graders (16 percent), or 11th-graders (21 percent) reported consuming alcohol anywhere on 3 to 29 of the previous 30 days (table 15.2). There were no measurable differences in alcohol consumption on school property among the grades in 2011.

Alcohol consumption anywhere and on school property varied by racial/ethnic group. In 2011, higher percentages of White (40 percent), Hispanic (42 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native students (45 percent) than Asian (26 percent) or Black students (30 percent) reported consuming alcohol anywhere at least one day during the previous 30 days (figure 15.4 and table 15.1). On school property, higher percentages of American Indian/Alaska Native (21 percent) and Hispanic students (7 percent) reported alcohol consumption than Asian students (3 percent), White students (4 percent), and Black students (5 percent).

In 2011, state-level data on percentages of students who reported using alcohol anywhere were available for 43 states and the District of Columbia, and state-level data on percentages of students who reported drinking alcohol on school property were available for 37 states and the District of Columbia (table 15.3). The percentage of students who reported drinking alcohol anywhere and on school property varied among the states for which data were available. Among these states, the percentages of students who reported drinking alcohol anywhere at least one day during the previous 30 days ranged from 15 percent in Utah to 44 percent in Arizona and Louisiana, while the percentage of students who reported drinking on school property ranged from 2 percent in Indiana and Iowa to 7 percent in the District of Columbia.

This indicator has been updated to include 2011 data. For more information: Tables 15.1, 15.2, and 15.3, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012), (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6104.pdf).


34 The term "anywhere" is not used in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) questionnaire; students are simply asked how many days during the previous 30 days they had at least one drink of alcohol. In the question that asks students about drinking alcohol at school, "on school property" was not defined for survey respondents.


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