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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2004
Indicators:
 
INDICATOR 12
 
STUDENTS' PERCEPTIONS OF PERSONAL SAFETY AT SCHOOL AND AWAY FROM SCHOOL

The percentage of students ages 12-18 who reported being afraid of being attacked at school or on the way to and from school decreased-from 12 percent in 1995 to 6 percent in 2003; however, no difference was detected in the percentage of students who feared such an attack between the most recent survey years, 2001 and 2003.

School violence can make students fearful and affect their readiness and ability to learn. Concerns about vulnerability to attacks also have a detrimental effect on the school environment (Elliott, Hamburg, and Williams 1998). In the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, students ages 12-18 were asked how often they had been afraid of attack "at school or on the way to and from school" and "away from school" during the previous 6 months.7

In 1999 and 2001, students were more likely to report they were afraid of being attacked at school or on the way to and from school than away from school; however, in 2003, no such difference was detected (figure 12.1 and table 12.1). The percentages of students who reported being afraid of being attacked at school or on the way to and from school decreased from 12 percent in 1995 to 6 percent in 2003; however, no difference was detected in the percentage of students who feared such an attack between the most recent survey years, 2001 and 2003.

In 2003, female students were more likely than male students to fear for their safety both at school and away from school. In the same year, Black and Hispanic students were more likely than White students to fear for their safety regardless of location (figure 12.2 and table 12.1). That is, 11 percent of Black students and 10 percent of Hispanic students reported that they were afraid of being attacked at school or on the way to and from school, compared with 4 percent of White students. Away from school, 10 percent of Black students, 7 percent of Hispanic students, and 4 percent of White students reported that they were afraid of an attack.

In 2003, grade level was inversely related to students' likelihood of fearing an attack at school or on the way to and from school: as grade level increased, students' likelihood of fearing an attack decreased. In the same year, 10 percent of 6th-graders, 6 percent of 9th-graders, and 4 percent of 12th-graders feared for their safety at school or on the way to and from school.

In addition, school location was also related to students' fear of attack: In 2003, students in urban schools were more likely than students in suburban and rural schools to fear being attacked both at school or on the way to and from school and away from school. Ten percent of students in urban schools feared being attacked at school, compared with 5 percent each of their peers in suburban and rural schools. In the same year, public school students were more likely than private school students to fear an attack at school (6 vs. 3 percent), but away from school no such difference was detected (5 percent each).

This indicator has been updated to include 2003 data.


7 In 1995 and 1999, students reported fear of "attack or harm" at school or on the way to and from school during the previous 6 months. In 2001 and 2003, students reported fear of "attack or threat of attack" at school or on the way to and from school during the previous 6 months. Includes students who reported that they sometimes or most of the time feared being victimized in this way.
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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education