Between 1993 and 2003, the percentage of students in grades 9-12 who reported carrying a weapon anywhere or at school declined.
The presence of weapons at school can create an intimidating and threatening atmosphere, making teaching and learning difficult (Ingersoll and LeBoeuf 1997). 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 the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, students were asked if they had carried a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club in the past 30 days (referred to as "anywhere" in this analysis) or carried one of these weapons onto school property in the past 30 days. In 2003, 17 percent of students in grades 9-12 reported they had carried a weapon anywhere, and about 6 percent reported they had carried a weapon on school property (table 11.1).
Between 1993 and 2003, the percentage of students who reported carrying a weapon anywhere generally declined from 22 to 17 percent. Similarly, the percentage of students who carried a weapon at school also declined during this period-from 12 to 6 percent.
When looking at the types of students who carried weapons to school, males were at least two times more likely than females to carry a weapon-either anywhere or on school property in all survey years (figure 11.1 and table 11.1). For example, in 2003, 9 percent of males carried a weapon on school property, compared with 3 percent of females, and 27 percent of males carried a weapon anywhere, compared with 7 percent of females. In 2003, no relationship was detected by grade level for students who reported carrying a weapon at school or anywhere (figure 11.2 and table 11.1).
In 2003, there were few differences in the percentages of students carrying weapons anywhere and on school property according to students' race/ethnicity. While American Indian students were more likely than Black, White, and Hispanic students to carry a weapon on school property and more likely than Black, White, Hispanic, and Asian students to carry a weapon anywhere, no differences were detected among Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, and Pacific Islander students in the likelihood of carrying a weapon anywhere or on school property.
This indicator has been updated to include 2003 data.