Skip Navigation
small NCES header image

Table 5.  Number and percentage of public primary 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 2003–04


School characteristic Possession of a firearm or explosive device1 Possession of a knife or sharp object
Number of schools Percent of schools Number of incidents Rate per 1,000 students   Number of schools Percent of schools Number of incidents Rate per 1,000 students
All public schools 1,777 4 2,220 0   5,412 11 8,606 0
                   
Enrollment size                   
Less than 300  213 2 213 0   1,157 9 1,364 1
300–499  569 3 649 0   1,650 10 2,028 0
500–999  910 5 1,231 0   2,301 13 4,571 0
1,000 or more  85 6 126 0   304 22 643 0
                   
Urbanicity                   
City  985 7 1,122 0   1,966 14 2,945 0
Urban fringe  517 3 783 0   1,586 9 2,702 0
Town  # # # #   882 17 1,552 1
Rural  274 2 315 0   978 7 1,407 0
                   
Crime level where students live2                   
High  533 13 647 0   781 19 1,601 1
Moderate  614 7 794 0   1,450 16 2,106 1
Low  523 2 673 0   1,904 7 2,889 0
Mixed  106 2 106 #   1,277 20 2,010 1
                   
Percent minority enrollment3                   
Less than 5 percent  41 # 81 #   978 11 1,224 0
5 to 20 percent  55 # 164 #   851 7 1,430 0
20 to 50 percent  704 6 825 0   1,352 12 2,205 0
50 percent or more  977 6 1,149 0   2,178 14 3,694 0
                   
Percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch                   
0–20 percent  58 1 58 #   521 5 919 0
21–50 percent  337 2 486 0   1,803 11 2,627 0
More than 50 percent  1,382 6 1,675 0   3,087 14 5,060 1
                   
Percent of students below 15th percentile on standardized tests                   
0–5 percent  70 # 70 #   1,185 8 1,841 0
6–15 percent  1,018 5 1,173 0   2,097 10 3,249 0
More than 15 percent  688 5 977 0   2,130 16 3,516 1
                   
Percent of students likely to attend college                   
0–35 percent  988 6 1,390 0   2,472 15 4,199 1
36–60 percent  581 4 621 0   1,656 12 2,427 0
More than 60 percent  208 1 208 #   1,284 7 1,979 0
                   
Percent of students who consider academic achievement important                   
0–25 percent  276 7 499 0   690 17 1,150 1
26–50 percent  454 4 495 0   1,543 15 2,762 1
51–75 percent  606 5 687 0   1,332 10 2,292 0
More than 75 percent  441 2 539 0   1,847 9 2,402 0
                   
Percent male enrollment                   
0–44 percent  191 6 300 0   462 15 626 1
45–55 percent  1,269 3 1,424 0   4,311 11 6,407 0
More than 55 percent  316 5 495 0   639 10 1,572 1
                   
Student-to-teacher ratio4                   
Less than 12 students  536 3 674 0   2,392 11 3,959 1
12–16 students  634 3 771 0   2,219 12 3,645 0
More than 16 students  607 7 774 0   801 9 1,002 0
                   
Number of classroom changes5                   
0–3 changes  773 4 912 0   2,114 11 3,140 0
4–6 changes  720 3 819 0   2,592 11 4,301 0
More than 6 changes  283 5 489 0   706 13 1,165 1
  . . . .   . . . .
Regular use of law enforcement6                   
Regular use  1,053 6 1,387 0   2,615 16 4,636 1
No regular use  724 2 833 0   2,797 9 3,970 0
                   
Number of serious discipline problems7                   
No problems  818 2 1,094 0   2,722 8 4,118 0
1 problem  420 5 529 0   1,621 19 2,520 1
2 problems  246 7 246 0   336 9 609 0
3 or more problems  292 13 351 0   733 32 1,359 1
                   
Transfers as a percentage of enrollment8                   
0 to 6 percent  58 1 116 #   569 7 767 0
6 to 11 percent  199 2 240 #   667 6 959 0
11 to 21 percent  440 3 646 0   1,567 11 2,382 0
21 percent or more  1,079 7 1,218 0   2,609 17 4,499 1
                   
Prevalence of schoolwide disruptions9                   
No disruptions  1,559 3 1,947 0   5,099 11 7,824 0
Any disruptions  217 14 273 0   313 20 782 1
                   
Percent of students absent on a daily basis                   
                 
0–2 percent  # # # #   367 7 514 0
3–5 percent  1,187 4 1,327 0   2,969 10 4,613 0
6–10 percent  589 5 893 0   1,980 17 3,382 1
More than 10 percent  # # # #   97 5 97 0
# Rounds to zero.
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 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."
3 These estimates exclude data from Tennessee because schools in this state did not report estimates of student race.
4 Student-to-teacher ratio was calculated by dividing the total number of students enrolled in the school by the total number of 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 2003–2004 school year, did you have any sworn law enforcement officers, security guards, or security personnel present at your school on a regular basis?"
7 Serious discipline problems include student racial tensions, student bullying, student sexual harassment of other students, student verbal abuse of teachers, widespread disorder in classrooms, student acts of disrespect for teachers, 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 that happen 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 school.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), 2004.


Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey

or

No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.
National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education