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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2004

In 2003, 12 percent of students ages 12-18 reported that someone at school had used hate-related words against them, and more than one-third (36 percent) of students ages 12-18 had seen hate-related graffiti at school.

A student's exposure to hate-related words or symbols at school may increase that student's feeling of vulnerability. Discriminatory behavior in schools can create a hostile environment that is not conducive to learning (McLaughlin and Brilliant 1997). In the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, students ages 12-18 were asked if someone at school had called them a derogatory word having to do with their race, religion, ethnicity, disability, gender, or sexual orientation during the previous 6 months. In the 2001 and 2003 administrations of the survey, they were then asked to specify the characteristic to which the hate-related word was directed.

In 2003, 12 percent of students ages 12-18 reported that someone at school had used hate-related words against them (figure 14.1 and table 14.1). Four percent of respondents reported that the hate-related words concerned their race, about 2 percent each reported that the words concerned their ethnicity or gender, and 1 percent each reported that the words were related to their religion, disability, or sexual orientation (table 14.2). In 1999, 2001, and 2003, students were also asked if they had seen hate-related graffiti at their school-that is, hate-related words or symbols written in classrooms, bathrooms, hallways, or on the outside of the school building (figure 14.1 and table 14.1). In each survey year, 36 percent of students saw hate-related graffiti at school.

Students' experiences of being called specific types of hate-related words in 2003 differed according to their sex and race/ethnicity (table 14.2). For example, females were more likely to report gender-related hate words than males (4 vs. 1 percent) and White students were less likely to report race-related hate words than students of other race/ethnicities (2 percent of White students vs. 7 percent of Black students, 5 percent of Hispanic students, and 9 percent of students in other racial/ethnic groups).

In 2003, differences were found according to school location and sector in students' reports of being called hate-related words or seeing hate-related graffiti (figure 14.1 and table 14.1). Urban students were more likely than rural and suburban students to see graffiti and more likely than suburban students to be called a hate-related word, but no other differences were detected according to urbanicity. Public school students were more likely than their private school counterparts to report seeing graffiti, but no such difference was found in the likelihood of being called a hate-related word.

This indicator has been updated to include 2003 data.

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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education