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Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 2002
Executive Summary

Foreword

Acknowledgments

Violent Deaths at School

Nonfatal Student Victimization-Student Reports

Violence and Crime at School-Public School Principal/ Disciplinarian Reports

Nonfatal Teacher Victimization at School-Teacher Reports

School Environment

Figures

Full Report (PDF) (PDF - 1152 KB)

-Supplemental Tables (PDF - 154 KB)

-Standard Error Tables (PDF - 156 KB)

-Appendix A   School Practices and Policies Related to Safety and Discipline' (PDF - 60 KB)

-Appendix B   Technical Notes (PDF - 83 KB)

-Appendix C   Glossary of Terms (PDF - 32 KB)

-Excel Tables   Zip Format (240 KB)




Executive Summary

Key Findings

All of the comparisons described in this report are statistically significant at the 0.05 level.4 Following are key findings from the various sections of the report:

Violent Deaths at School

From July 1, 1998 through June 30, 1999, there were 47 school-associated violent deaths in the United States (Indicator 1). Thirty-eight of these violent deaths were homicides, six were suicides, two involved suspects killed by a law enforcement officer in the line of duty, and one was unintentional. Thirty-three of the 38 school-associated homicides were of school-aged children. These 33 homicides are relatively few (1 percent of all homicides of youth) compared to a total of 2,391 children ages 5 to 19 who were victims of homicide in the United States from July 1, 1998 through June 30, 1999. Four of the six school-associated suicides occurring from July 1, 1998 through June 30, 1999 were of school-aged children. Away from school, there were a total of 1,855 suicides of children ages 5 to 19 during the 1999 calendar year.

Nonfatal Student Victimization - Student Reports

Students ages 12 through 18 were more likely to be victims of nonfatal serious violent crime-including rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault-away from school than when they were at school (Indicator 2). In 2000, students in this age range were victims of about 373,000 serious violent crimes away from school, compared with about 128,000 at school. This translates into a rate of 14 per 1,000 students away from school and 5 per 1,000 students at school.

  • The percentage of students in grades 9 through 12 who have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property5 has not changed significantly in recent years (Indicator 4). In 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, and 2001, between 7 and 9 percent of students reported being threatened or injured with a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club on school property in the past 12 months.
  • The percentage of students who reported being in a fight anywhere declined from 1993 to 2001-from 42 percent to 33 percent (Indicator 5). Similarly, the percentage of students who reported fighting on school property also declined over this period, from 16 percent to 13 percent.
  • Both males and females were more likely to be bullied in 2001 than in 1999 (Indicator 6). In 2001, males were more likely than females to be bullied (9 and 7 percent, respectively); however, in 1999, no such difference could be detected (5 percent each).
  • Between 1992 and 2000, there was a 46 percent decrease in the violent crime victimization rate at school and a 52 percent decrease away from school (from 48 to 26 and from 71 to 34 per 1,000 students ages 12 through 18, respectively) (Indicator 2). In 2000, younger students (ages 12 through 14) were not victimized at a different rate than older students (ages 15 through 18) either at or away from school (Indicator 2).
  • In 2001, 8 percent of 12- through 18-year-old students reported being bullied at school in the last 6 months (Indicator 6), up from 5 percent in 1999.
Violence and Crime at School-Public School Principal/ Disciplinarian Reports

In 1996-97, 10 percent of all public schools reported at least one serious violent crime to the police or a law enforcement representative (Indicator 7). Principals' reports of serious violent crimes included murder, rape or other type of sexual battery, suicide, physical attack or fight with a weapon, or robbery. Another 47 percent of public schools reported at least one less serious violent or nonviolent crime (but not a serious violent one). Crimes in this category include physical attack or fight without a weapon, theft/larceny, and vandalism. The remaining 43 percent of public schools did not report any of these crimes to the police.

  • Elementary schools were less likely than either middle or high schools to report any type of crime in 1996-97. Elementary schools were more likely to report vandalism (31 percent) than any other crime (19 percent or less) (Indicator 8).
  • At the middle and high school levels, physical attack or fight without a weapon was generally the most commonly reported crime in 1996-97 (9 and 8 per 1,000 students, respectively) (Indicator 8). Theft or larceny was more common at the high school level than at the middle school level (6 vs. 4 incidents per 1,000 students).
Nonfatal Teacher Victimization at School-Teacher Reports

Over the 5-year period from 1996 through 2000, teachers were victims of approximately 1,603,000 nonfatal crimes at school, including 1,004,000 thefts and 599,000 violent crimes (rape or sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault) (Indicator 9). On average, this translates into 74 crimes per 1,000 teachers per year.

  • During the 1996 through 2000 period, senior high school and middle/junior high school teachers were more likely to be victims of violent crimes (most of which were simple assaults) than elementary school teachers (35 and 49, respectively, vs. 15 crimes per 1,000 teachers) (Indicator 9).
  • Teachers were differentially victimized by violent crimes at school according to where they taught (Indicator 9). Over the 5-year period from 1996 through 2000, urban teachers were more likely to be victims of violent crimes than suburban and rural teachers (36 vs. 21 and 17, respectively, per 1,000 teachers).
  • In the 1999-2000 school year, 9 percent of all elementary and secondary school teachers were threatened with injury by a student, and 4 percent were physically attacked by a student (Indicator 10). This represented about 305,000 teachers who were victims of threats of injury by students that year and 135,000 teachers who were victims of attacks by students.
School Environment

Between 1995 and 1999, there was a decrease in the percentage of students ages 12 through 18 feeling unsafe while they were at school (Indicator 12). However, between 1999 and 2001, there was no significant change in the percentage of students feeling unsafe. In both 1999 and 2001, students were more likely to be afraid of being attacked at school than away from school.

  • Between 1993 and 2001, the percentage of students in grades 9 through 12 who reported carrying a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club on school property within the previous 30 days declined from 12 percent to 6 percent (Indicator 11).
  • Between 1995 and 1999, there was a decrease in the percentage of students ages 12 through 18 who avoided one or more places at school-from 9 percent to 5 percent (Indicator 13). However, between 1999 and 2001, the percentage remained stable at 5 percent.
  • In 2001, 12 percent of students ages 12 through 18 reported that someone at school had used hate-related words against them (Indicator 14). That is, in the prior 6 months, someone at school had called them a derogatory word having to do with race, religion, ethnicity, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. During the same period, about 36 percent of students saw hate-related graffiti at school.
  • In 2001, 20 percent of students reported that street gangs were present at their schools (Indicator 15). Students in urban schools were more likely to report that there were street gangs at their schools (29 percent) than were suburban and rural students (18 percent and 13 percent, respectively).
  • In 1999-2000, student tardiness and absenteeism were reported as serious or moderate problems by about 30 percent of public school principals (32 percent and 29 percent, respectively) (Indicator 16). Vandalism of school property and robbery or theft were considered to be serious or moderate problems in 6 percent and 4 percent of public schools, respectively, and student possession of weapons was reported as a serious or moderate problem by 1 percent of public school principals.
  • In 2001, 5 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 had at least one drink of alcohol on school property in the 30 days prior to the survey (Indicator 17). Forty-seven percent of students had at least one drink anywhere during the same period.
  • Between 1993 and 2001, there were no consistent patterns of increase or decrease found in the percentage of students who had used marijuana-both anywhere and on school property (Indicator 18). In 2001, 24 percent of students reported using marijuana anywhere in the last 30 days, and 5 percent reported using marijuana on school property.
  • In 2001, 29 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 reported that someone had offered, sold, or given them an illegal drug on school property in the 12 months prior to the survey (Indicator 19).

4 See appendix B for details on the statistical methodology.
5 Definitions for "on school property" and "at school" may differ. See appendix C for specific definitions.

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