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Table 5.  Number and percentage of public schools reporting incidents of possession of a firearm or explosive device or possession of a knife or sharp object at school, the number of incidents, and the rate of incidents per 1,000 students, by selected school characteristics: School year 2007–08

  Possession of a firearm or explosive device1    Possession of a knife or sharp object 
School characteristic Num-
ber of schools
  Per-
cent of schools
  Num-
ber of incidents
  Rate per 1,000 students   Num-
of schools
  Per-
cent of schools
  Num-
ber of incidents
  Rate per 1,000 students  
All public schools  3,880   5   5,330   #   33,670   41   76,960   2  
                                 
Level2                                 
Primary  1,440   3   1,770   #   15,950   32   27,610   1  
Middle  1,050   7   1,470   #   8,250   54   21,300   2  
High school  1,290   11   1,870   #   7,200   60   23,630   2  
Combined          2,280   34   4,410   2  
                                 
Enrollment size                                 
Less than 300  240 ! 1 ! 240 ! #   3,990   21   6,900   2  
300–499  600 ! 2 ! 640 0 #   8,140   33   12,990   1  
500–999  1,800   6   2,440   #   14,870   49   32,180   2  
1,000 or more  1,250   13   2,000   #   6,680   72   24,880   2  
                                 
Urbanicity                                 
City  1,730   8   2,240   #   10,670   50   26,970   2  
Suburb  940   4   1,560   #   9,400   39   20,520   1  
Town  360   3   410   #   4,940   42   10,820   2  
Rural  850   3   1,120   #   8,670   33   18,640   2  
                                 
Crime level where students live3                                 
High  410   7   490   #   3,240   52   8,960   3  
Moderate  1,260   7   1,690   #   9,030   53   23,040   2  
Low  1,660   3   2,320   #   16,280   33   33,220   1  
Mixed  550   5   830   #   5,130   49   11,740   2  
                                 
Percent of combined Black/African
    American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian,
    Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific
    Islander, and American Indian/
    Alaska Native students
                               
Less than 5 percent  180 ! 1 ! 220 ! #   3,970   29   7,910   1  
5 to less than 20 percent  690   3   810   #   7,240   34   15,100   1  
20 to less than 50 percent  930   5   1,190   #   9,050   45   21,170   2  
50 percent or more  2,090   8   3,100   #   13,420   49   32,780   2  
                                 
Percent of students eligible for
   free or reduced-price lunch
                               
0–20 percent  440   3   530   #   5,720   32   11,100   1  
21–50 percent  1,360   5   1,930   #   11,700   39   28,150   2  
More than 50 percent  2,080   6   2,870   #   16,260   46   37,700   2  
                                 
Percent of students below
   15th percentile on
   standardized tests
                               
0–5 percent  740   3   1,040   #   9,520   33   18,570   1  
6–15 percent  1,940   6   2,530   #   13,810   42   31,450   2  
More than 15 percent  1,210   6   1,760   #   10,340   49   26,940   2  
                                 
Percent of students likely
   to attend college
                               
0–35 percent  1,460   7   2,020   #   9,920   47   23,690   2  
36–60 percent  960   4   1,320   #   10,240   46   24,860   2  
More than 60 percent  1,470   4   1,990   #   13,520   34   28,400   1  
                                 
Percent of students who
   consider academic
   achievement important
                               
0–25 percent  370 ! 7 ! 560 ! #   2,600   48   8,310   3  
26–50 percent  640   5   870   #   7,250   52   17,630   2  
51–75 percent  1,290   5   1,670   #   11,270   46   26,480   2  
More than 75 percent  1,580   4   2,230   #   12,550   32   24,540   1  
                                 
Percent male enrollment                                 
0–44 percent  350   4   420   #   2,470   31   5,180   1  
45–55 percent  3,200   5   4,580   #   27,590   42   63,650   2  
More than 55 percent  330 ! 3 ! 330 ! #   3,610   36   8,130   2  
                                 
Student-to-FTE ratio4                                 
Less than 12 students  1,370   3   1,730   #   14,790   35   32,550   2  
12–16 students  1,710   6   2,370   #   13,210   46   28,480   2  
More than 16 students  800   7   1,230   #   5,670   46   15,930   2  
                                 
Number of classroom                                 
changes5                                 
0–3 changes  1,050   5   1,190   #   6,940   31   11,490   1  
4–6 changes  1,610   4   2,340   #   15,350   43   38,520   2  
More than 6 changes  1,230   5   1,810   #   11,380   46   26,940   2  
                                 
Regular use of law enforcement6                                 
Regular use  2,720   7   3,920   #   19,690   51   52,950   2  
No regular use  1,170   3   1,410   #   13,980   31   24,010   1  
                                 
Number of serious
   discipline problems7 
                               
No problems  1,930   3   2,830   #   18,510   33   36,300   1  
1 problem  990   6   1,180   #   8,690   54   20,810   2  
2 problems  290   6   360   #   3,100   60   8,690   2  
3 or more problems  670   14   970   #   3,380   70   11,150   3  
                                 
Transfers as a percentage
   of enrollment8 
                               
Less than 6 percent  550   3   810   #   6,260   34   12,110   1  
6 to less than 11 percent  780   5   1,050   #   6,170   37   13,000   1  
11 to less than 21 percent  1,290   5   1,540   #   10,090   40   24,590   2  
21 percent or more  1,260   6   1,920   #   11,160   49   27,260   2  
                                 
Prevalence of schoolwide
   disruptions9 
                               
No disruptions  3,250   4   4,430 0 #   29,640   39   65,150   2  
Any disruptions  630   10   900   #   4,030   65   11,810   2  
                                 
Percent of students
   absent on a daily basis 
                               
0–2 percent  280 ! 4 ! 300 ! #   2,860   36   5,210   1  
3–5 percent  1,330   3   1,820   #   15,260   34   33,270   1  
6–10 percent  1,700   7   2,200   #   12,790   50   30,180   2  
More than 10 percent  560   11   1,020   #   2,770   55   8,290   3  
#Rounds to zero.
!Interpret data with caution. The standard error for this estimate is from 30 percent to 50 percent of the estimate’s value.
‡Reporting standards not met. The standard error for this estimate is equal to 50 percent or more of the estimate's value.
1 Firearm or explosive device was defined as "any weapon that is designed to (or may readily be converted to) expel a projectile by the action of an explosive. This includes guns, bombs, grenades, mines, rockets, missiles, pipe bombs, or similar devices designed to explode and capable of causing bodily harm or property damage."
2 Primary schools are defined as schools in which the lowest grade is not higher than grade 3 and the highest grade is not higher than grade 8. Middle schools are defined as schools in which the lowest grade is not lower than grade 4 and the highest grade is not higher than grade 9. High schools are defined as schools in which the lowest grade is not lower than grade 9 and the highest grade is not higher than grade 12. Combined schools include all other combinations of grades, including K–12 schools.
3 Respondents were asked, "How would you describe the crime level in the area(s) in which your students live?" Response options included "high level of crime," "moderate level of crime," "low level of crime," and "students come from areas with very different levels of crime."
4 Student-to-FTE ratio was calculated by dividing the total number of students enrolled in the school by the total number of full-time-equivalent teachers and aides. The total number of full-time-equivalent teachers and aides is a combination of the full-time and part-time teachers and aides, including special education teachers and aides, with an adjustment to compensate for the part-time status.
5 Respondents were asked, "How many classroom changes do most students make in a typical day?" Responses exclude morning arrival and afternoon departure.
6 Respondents were asked, "During the 2007–08 school year, did you have any security guards, security personnel, or sworn law enforcement officers present at your school at least once a week?"
7 Serious discipline problems include student racial/ethnic tensions, student bullying, student sexual harassment of other students, student verbal abuse of teachers, widespread disorder in classrooms, student acts of disrespect for teachers other than verbal abuse, gang activities, and cult or extremist group activities. If a respondent reported that any of these problems occurred daily or weekly in their school, each was counted once in the total number of serious discipline problems.
8 Transfers as a percentage of enrollment combines the number of students who were transferred to a school and the number of students who were transferred from a school divided by the total number of students enrolled in the school.
9 Schoolwide disruptions include actions that disrupted school activities such as death threats, bomb threats, and chemical, biological, or radiological threats. Respondents were instructed to exclude all fire alarms, including false alarms.
NOTE: "At school" was defined for respondents to include activities happening in school buildings, on school grounds, on school buses, and at places that hold school-sponsored events or activities. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Responses were provided by the principal or the person most knowledgeable about crime and safety issues at the school.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 2007–08 School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), 2008.


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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education