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Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 2003
Executive Summary

Foreword

Acknowledgments

Violent Deaths at School

Nonfatal Student Victimization-Student Reports

Violence and Crime at School-Public School Reports

Nonfatal Teacher Victimization at School-Teacher Reports

School Environment

Figures

Full Report (PDF) (PDF - 1152 KB)

-Supplemental Tables (PDF - 224 KB)

-Standard Error Tables (PDF - 186 KB)

-Appendix A   Technical Notes (PDF - 113 KB)

-Appendix B   Glossary of Terms (PDF - 45 KB)

-Excel Tables   Zip Format (207 KB)

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Executive Summary

Key Findings

All the comparisons described in this report are statistically significant at the 0.05 level. The following section presents the key findings of the report:

Violent Deaths at School

From July 1, 1999 through June 30, 2000, 32 school-associated violent deaths occurred in the United States (Indicator 1). Twenty-four of these violent deaths were homicides and 8 were suicides. Sixteen of the 24 school-associated homicides involved school-aged children. These 16 homicides are relatively few (1 percent of all homicides of youth) when comparing them with a total of 2,124 children ages 5-19 who were victims of homicide in the United States over the same period. Six of the 8 school-associated suicides from July 1, 1999 through June 30, 2000 involved school-aged children. Away from school, there were a total of 1,922 suicides of children ages 5-19 during the 2000 calendar year.

Nonfatal Student Victimization-Student Reports

Students ages 12-18 were more likely to be victims of nonfatal serious violent crime-including rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault-when they were away from school than at school (Indicator 2). In 2001, students in this age range were victims of about 290,000 serious violent crimes away from school, compared with about 161,000 at school.

  • Between 1992 and 2001, the violent crime victimization rates (that is, serious violent crime plus simple assault) for students ages 12-18 both at school and away from school decreased from 48 violent crimes per 1,000 students in 1992 to 28 violent crimes per 1,000 students in 2001 (Indicator 2). While this trend indicates an overall decline during this time frame, no difference was detected between 2000 and 2001 in the number of violent victimizations.
  • In 2001, younger students (ages 12-14) were more likely to be victimized at school than older students (ages 15-18); however, away from school, older students were more likely to be victimized than their younger counterparts (Indicator 2).
  • The percentages of students in grades 9-12 who have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property2 have shown no measurable differences 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 preceding 12 months.
  • The percentage of students who reported being in a fight anywhere declined between 1993 and 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.
  • In 2001, 8 percent of 12- through 18-year-old students reported being bullied at school in the last 6 months, up from 5 percent in 1999 (Indicator 6).
  • Both males and females were more likely to report being bullied in 2001 than in 1999 (Indicator 6). In 2001, males were more likely than females to report being bullied (9 and 7 percent, respectively); however, in 1999, no such difference could be detected (5 percent each).

Violence and Crime at School-Public School Reports

In 1999-2000, 20 percent of all public schools experienced one or more serious violent crimes such as rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. Seventy-one percent of schools reported at least one violent incident. Forty-six percent of public schools reported property crimes, or thefts (Indicator 7). This report also provides the number of disciplinary actions taken by school principals for reasons not related to academics. About 54 percent of public schools reported taking a serious disciplinary action in the 1999-2000 school year. Of those disciplinary actions, 83 percent were suspensions lasting 5 days or more, 11 percent were removals with no services (i.e., expulsions), and 7 percent were transfers to specialized schools (Indicator 8).

  • Secondary schools were more likely than other schools to experience a violent incident during the 1999-2000 school year (92 vs. 61-87 percent for elementary, middle, and combined schools). Likewise, larger schools were more likely to experience a violent incident than smaller schools. About 89 percent of schools with 1,000 or more students experienced a violent incident, compared with 61 percent of schools with less than 300 students (Indicator 7).
  • Two percent of public schools took a serious disciplinary action for the use of a firearm or explosive device, and 4 percent did so for the possession of such a device (Indicator 8).

Nonfatal Teacher Victimization at School-Teacher Reports

Over the 5-year period from 1997 through 2001, teachers were victims of approximately 1.3 million nonfatal crimes at school, including 817,000 thefts and 473,000 violent crimes (rape or sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault) (Indicator 9).

  • From 1997 through 2001, 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 (Indicator 9).
  • Teachers were differentially victimized by violent crimes at school according to where they taught (Indicator 9). From 1997 through 2001, urban teachers were more likely to be victims of violent crimes than suburban and rural 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, the percentage of students ages 12-18 who felt unsafe while they were at school or on the way to and from school decreased (Indicator 12). However, between 1999 and 2001, no change was found in the percentage of students who felt unsafe. In both 1999 and 2001, students were more likely to be afraid of being attacked when they were at school than away from school.

  • Between 1993 and 2001, the percentage of students in grades 9-12 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 1999 and 2001, no differences were detected in the percentage of students ages 12-18 who avoided one or more places at school (about 5 percent in each year) (Indicator 13). These estimates represented a decrease from 1995, when 9 percent of students avoided places at school.
  • In 2001, 12 percent of students ages 12-18 reported that someone at school had used hate-related words against them (Indicator 14). That is, in the previous 6 months, someone at school had called them a derogatory word related to 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 the presence of street gangs at their schools (29 percent) than were suburban and rural students (18 and 13 percent, respectively).
  • In 1999-2000, public school principals were asked to report how often certain disciplinary problems occurred at their schools. Twenty-nine percent of public schools reported that student bullying occurred on a daily or weekly basis and 19 percent reported student acts of disrespect for teachers occurred at the same frequency (Indicator 16). Additionally, 13 percent reported student verbal abuse of teachers and 3 percent reported occurrences of student racial tensions and widespread disorder in the classrooms with the same frequency.
  • Between 1993 and 2001, no consistent patterns of increase or decrease were found in the percentage of students who had consumed alcohol, both anywhere and on school property (Indicator 17). In 2001, 5 percent of students in grades 9-12 had at least one drink of alcohol on school property in the 30 days prior to the survey. Forty-seven percent of students had at least one drink anywhere during the same period.
  • Between 1993 and 2001, no consistent patterns of increase or decrease were 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 during the previous 30 days, and 5 percent reported using marijuana on school property.
  • In 2001, 29 percent of students in grades 9-12 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).
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