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11. Prevalence of students carrying weapons on school property*
The presence of weapons at school can create an intimidating and threatening atmosphere, making teaching and learning difficult. The percentage of students who report that they carry a gun or other weapon on school property is an indicator of the breadth of the problem of weapons at school.
- In 2001, 17 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 reported carrying a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club anywhere6 in the past 30 days (table 11.2). About 6 percent reported they had carried a weapon on school property (table 11.1).
- Between 1993 and 2001, the percentage of students who reported carrying a weapon anywhere generally declined from 22 percent to 17 percent (table 11.2). There was also a decline in the percentage of students who carried a weapon at school-from 12 percent in 1993 to 6 percent in 2001 (table 11.1).
- In all years, males were at least three times more likely than females to carry a weapon-both anywhere and on school property (figure 11.1 and tables 11.1 and 11.2). For example, in 2001, 10 percent of males carried a weapon on school property, compared with 3 percent of females.
- Students in lower grades were generally more likely to have carried a weapon anywhere than were students in higher grades in all survey years except 1999 (figure 11.2 and table 11.2). However, at school, no differences were found among grade levels for students carrying a weapon at school in all years except 1995 (table 11.1).
- In 2001, few differences could be detected by race/ethnicity in the percentages of students carrying weapons anywhere and on school property (tables 11.1 and 11.2).7
*This indicator has been updated to include 2001 data.
6 The term "anywhere" is not used in the YRBS questionnaire. Rather, students are simply asked during the past 30 days, on how many days they carried a weapon.
7 While there appear to be large differences among racial/ethnic groups, these differences are associated with large standard errors and should be interpreted with caution.