Skip Navigation
small NCES header image
Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2012
NCES 2013-036
2013

Indicator 17: Students' Perceptions of Personal Safety at School and Away From School

In 2011, a higher percentage of students ages 1218 reported that they were afraid of attack or harm at school (4 percent) than away from school (2 percent) during the school year.

School violence can make students fearful and affect their readiness and ability to learn, and concerns about vulnerability to attacks can detract from a positive school environment (Scheckner et al. 2002). In the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, students ages 1218 were asked how often36 they had been afraid of attack or harm "at school or on the way to and from school" as well as "away from school."37 In 2011, a higher percentage of students ages 1218 reported that they were afraid of attack or harm at school (4 percent) than away from school (2 percent) during the school year (figure 17.1 and table 17.1).

In 2011, a lower percentage of White students (3 percent) than of Hispanic students (5 percent) reported being afraid of attack or harm at school, and a lower percentage of White students (2 percent) than of Black and Hispanic students (3 percent each) reported being afraid of attack or harm away from school. The percentage of students who reported being afraid of attack or harm at school or away from school in 2011 did not measurably differ by sex. Four percent each of female and male students reported being afraid of attack or harm at school, and 3 percent of females and 2 percent of males reported being afraid of attack or harm away from school.

The percentages of students who reported being afraid of attack or harm at school or away from school in 2011 tended to be greater for students in lower grades than for those in upper grades. For example, higher percentages of 6th-graders (6 percent), 7th-graders (4 percent), 8th-graders (5 percent), and 9th-graders (4 percent) reported being afraid of attack or harm at school than 11th-graders and 12th-graders (2 percent each). The percentage of 10th-graders (4 percent) who reported being afraid of attack or harm at school was also higher than the percentage of 11th-graders. Away from school, higher percentages of 6th-, 7th-, 9th-, and 11th-graders (3 to 4 percent each) reported being afraid of attack or harm than 12th-graders (1 percent). The percentage of 9th-graders (4 percent) who reported being afraid of attack or harm away from school was also higher than the percentage of 10th-graders (2 percent).

Both at school and away from school, higher percentages of students in urban areas reported being afraid of attack or harm than students in suburban and rural areas. Specifically, 5 percent of students in urban areas reported being afraid of attack or harm at school, compared with 3 percent each of students in rural areas and suburban areas. Three percent of students in urban areas reported being afraid of attack or harm away from school, compared with 2 percent of students in suburban areas and 1 percent of those in rural areas.

In 2011, a higher percentage of students in public schools (4 percent) than of students in private schools (2 percent) reported being afraid of attack or harm at school.

Between 1995 and 2011, the percentage of students who reported being afraid of attack or harm at school decreased from 12 to 4 percent (figure 17.2). A declining trend was also observed away from school: between 1999 and 2011, the percentage of students who reported being afraid of attack or harm decreased from 6 to 2 percent. From 2009 to 2011, no measurable differences were found in the percentage of students who feared attack or harm at school; however, the percentage of students who feared attack or harm away from school was lower in 2011 (2 percent) than in 2009 (3 percent).

This indicator has been updated to include 2011 data. For more information: Table 17.1, and DeVoe and Bauer (2011), (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012314).


36 Students were asked if they "never," "almost never," "sometimes," or "most of the time" feared attack or harm at school or away from school. Students responding "sometimes" or "most of the time" were considered fearful.
37 "At school" includes the school building, on school property, on a school bus, and, from 2001 onward, going to and from school.


Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey

or

No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.