Student reports of experiencing violence, the threat of violence, and the presence of gangs at school are one indicator of school safety. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asks students in grades 9 through 12 whether they have carried a weapon to school in the past 30 days, been threatened or injured with a weapon in school in the past year, engaged in a physical fight on school property in the past year, and whether drugs were available to them on school property in the past year. The School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey (SCS/NCVS) asks students ages 12 to 18 in elementary and secondary schools about crime on their campuses, including the presence of gangs.
In 2007, among 9th- through 12th-grade students, higher percentages of students of two or more races (13 percent), Black students (10 percent), and Hispanic students (9 percent) reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property in the past 12 months than did White students (7 percent) and American Indian/Alaska Native students (6 percent). No other measurable differences were found among the races/ethnicities. In 2007, approximately 6 percent of all students in grades 9 through 12 reported carrying a weapon on school property during the previous 30 days. Few measurable differences were found among the races/ethnicities in the percentage who reported carrying a weapon on school property—a larger percentage of Hispanic students (7 percent) reported doing so than did White (5 percent) and Asian (4 percent) students, but no other differences were detected. About 12 percent of all high school students engaged in a physical fight on school property in the past 12 months. This percentage was higher for Black, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native students and students of two or more races (ranging between 15 and 20 percent) than for White and Asian students (10 and 8 percent, respectively).
An estimated 22 percent of high school students reported having illegal drugs offered, sold, or given to them on school property in 2007. Differences in this percentage were found across racial/ethnic groups. Specifically, higher percentages of Hispanic (29 percent) and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (38 percent) students reported that drugs were made available to them than did Black, White, and Asian students (19 to 21 percent). Although it appears that a higher percentage of Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander students than Hispanic students reported that drugs were made available to them, the difference was not found to be statistically significant.View Table 22a
Youth gangs are linked to serious crime problems such as the presence of guns and drugs in elementary and secondary schools (Chandler et al. 1998). In 2007, about 23 percent of students ages 12 to 18 reported a presence of gangs at their school. A higher percentage of Black (38 percent) and Hispanic (36 percent) students reported a presence of gangs at their schools than did White (16 percent) and Asian (17 percent) students.View Table 22b