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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2004

In 2003, 45 percent of students in grades 9-12 had at least one drink of alcohol anywhere in the 30 days before being surveyed and 5 percent had at least one drink on school property.

The consumption of alcohol by students on school property, a crime in itself, may lead to other crimes and misbehavior on the part of students. It may also lead to a school environment that is harmful to students, teachers, and staff (Fagan and Wilkinson 1998). In the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, students in grades 9-12 were asked whether they had consumed alcohol at all in the past 30 days (referred to as "anywhere" in this analysis) and if they had consumed alcohol on school property. In 2003, 45 percent of students had consumed at least one drink of alcohol anywhere in the 30 days before being surveyed, and a smaller percentage (5 percent) had consumed at least one drink on school property (table 17.1). When examining students' reports of drinking between 1993 and 2003, no consistent patterns of increase or decrease were found in the percentage of students who had consumed alcohol on school property (between 5 and 6 percent in all survey years). The percentage of students who reported using alcohol anywhere increased from 48 percent in 1993 to 52 percent in 1995 and then declined between 1995 and 2003.

The likelihood of drinking alcohol varied by student characteristics. In 2003, males were more likely than females to use alcohol on school property (6 vs. 4 percent), a difference not found in the percentages who reported drinking anywhere (figure 17.1 and table 17.1). In 2003, students in higher grades were more likely to report drinking alcohol anywhere than students in lower grades (figure 17.2 and table 17.1). However, no relationship was found across grade levels for students' reports of drinking alcohol on school property.

In 2003, Asian and Black students were less likely to use alcohol anywhere than American Indian, White, or Hispanic students. Twenty-eight percent of Asian students and 37 percent of Black students reported using alcohol anywhere, compared with between 46 and 52 percent of students in the other racial/ethnic groups. On school property, Black and Hispanic students were more likely to use alcohol than White students (6 and 8 percent, respectively, vs. 4 percent).

This indicator has been updated to include 2003 data.

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