In 1999-2000, more than one-quarter (29 percent) of public schools reported daily or weekly student bullying.
Discipline problems in a school may contribute to an overall environment in which violence and crime may occur. In the School Survey on Crime and Safety, school principals were asked how often certain disciplinary problems occur. Behaviors discussed in this indicator include racial tensions, bullying, student verbal abuse of teachers, widespread classroom disorder, and student acts of disrespect for teachers that happened daily or once a week. If gang or cult activities happened at all in the school, they were included as problematic.
In 1999-2000, more than one-quarter (29 percent) of public schools reported daily or weekly student bullying (table 16.1). Among the other discipline problems reported, 19 percent of public schools reported student acts of disrespect for teachers, 13 percent reported student verbal abuse of teachers, 3 percent reported student racial tensions, and 3 percent reported widespread disorder in classrooms. Furthermore, 19 percent of public schools reported undesirable gang activities and 7 percent of schools reported undesirable cult or extremist activities occurred at some point in time during the 1999-2000 school year.
Discipline problems reported by public schools varied by school characteristics. For example, middle schools were more likely than elementary and secondary schools to report racial tensions, bullying, verbal abuse of teachers, and widespread disorder in classrooms (figure 16.1 and table 16.1). Middle schools were more likely than elementary schools, but less likely than high schools to report gang or extremist cult activity.
The prevalence of discipline problems was related to school size. As school enrollment increased, so did the likelihood of schools reporting each discipline problem at their school except widespread disorder in the classroom-which was reported by relatively few principals (less than 5 percent at all enrollment levels). Twenty-six percent of principals at schools with 1,000 or more students reported student verbal abuse of teachers, compared to 14 percent of schools with 500-999 students, 10 percent of schools with 300-499 students, and 7 percent of schools with less than 300 students.
Schools that had one or more violent incidents occur at their school were more likely to report each of the disciplinary problems discussed above than those schools with no violent incidents. For example, 34 percent of schools with one or more violent incidents reported that bullying happened at least once a week, compared with 17 percent of schools with no violent incidents.
This indicator repeats information from the 2003 Indicators of School Crime and Safety report.