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Table 5.  Number and percentage of public middle 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


    Possession of a firearm or explosive device1   Possession of a knife or sharp object
School characteristic   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    1,147 8 2,009 0.2   3,617 25 9,168 0.9
                     
Enrollment size                     
Less than 300    28 1 28 0.1   241 11 316 0.6
300–499    98 3 176 0.1   447 14 1,211 0.9
500–999    637 9 983 0.2   2,055 29 4,491 0.9
1,000 or more    384 18 822 0.3   874 40 3,151 1.1
                     
Urbanicity                     
City    488 14 926 0.3   1,424 42 4,385 1.6
Urban fringe    382 7 686 0.2   1,269 24 3,020 0.7
Town    105 5 144 0.1   523 23 940 0.8
Rural    172 5 254 0.1   402 12 823 0.5
                     
Crime level where students live2                    
High    166 16 384 0.4   524 49 1,620 1.9
Moderate    413 13 593 0.3   1,096 34 3,614 1.6
Low    358 4 564 0.1   1,316 16 2,443 0.5
Mixed    210 10 468 0.3   682 32 1,492 0.9
                     
Percent minority enrollment3                    
Less than 5 percent    65 2 102 0.1   235 9 360 0.3
5 to 20 percent    199 5 326 0.1   634 17 1,296 0.5
20 to 50 percent    208 6 342 0.1   971 29 2,364 1.0
50 percent or more    676 15 1,239 0.4   1,690 38 4,761 1.4
                     
Percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch                    
0–20 percent    139 4 288 0.1   606 18 1,058 0.4
21–50 percent    440 8 700 0.2   1,116 20 2,598 0.8
More than 50 percent    568 10 1,022 0.3   1,895 34 5,512 1.5
                     
Percent of students below 15th percentile on standardized tests                    
0–5 percent    153 5 231 0.1   568 17 1,206 0.5
6–15 percent    440 7 778 0.2   1,367 21 3,411 0.8
More than 15 percent    554 12 1,000 0.3   1,682 35 4,551 1.4
                     
Percent of students likely to attend college                    
0–35 percent    479 10 851 0.3   1,561 33 4,220 1.4
36–60 percent    401 9 755 0.3   1,143 26 3,030 1.0
More than 60 percent    267 5 403 0.1   914 17 1,918 0.5
                     
Percent of students who consider academic achievement important                    
0–25 percent    115 7 145 0.1   427 24 1,175 1.1
26–50 percent    323 10 547 0.3   1,036 32 2,819 1.3
51–75 percent    395 8 798 0.2   1,294 27 3,618 1.1
More than 75 percent    314 7 519 0.2   861 18 1,556 0.5
                     
Percent male enrollment                     
0–44 percent    148 17 267 0.5   269 31 638 1.3
45–55 percent    949 8 1,660 0.2   3,120 25 7,919 0.9
More than 55 percent    50 5 82 0.1   228 22 612 1.0
                     
Student-to-teacher ratio4                    
Less than 12 students    290 5 409 0.1   1,375 22 2,950 0.9
12–16 students    538 10 895 0.2   1,451 26 3,901 1.0
More than 16 students    319 12 706 0.3   792 29 2,317 0.9
                     
Number of classroom changes5                    
0–3 changes    27 5 27 0.1   88 14 214 0.7
4–6 changes    456 8 875 0.2   1,521 27 4,123 1.1
More than 6 changes    663 8 1,107 0.2   2,009 24 4,830 0.9
                     
Regular use of law enforcement6                    
Regular use    881 9 1,540 0.2   2,848 30 7,502 1.1
No regular use    266 5 469 0.2   770 15 1,666 0.6
                     
Number of serious discipline problems7                    
No problems    427 6 731 0.2   1,180 17 2,216 0.5
1 problem    139 5 200 0.1   716 24 1,551 0.7
2 problems    267 12 404 0.2   633 28 1,959 1.2
3 or more problems    314 13 674 0.4   1,088 45 3,442 1.8
                     
Transfers as a percentage of enrollment8                    
0 to 6 percent    268 9 465 0.2   563 20 1,478 0.7
6 to 11 percent    185 6 351 0.2   687 21 1,280 0.6
11 to 21 percent    384 8 702 0.2   1,189 26 2,331 0.8
21 percent or more    311 8 491 0.2   1,177 31 4,079 1.5
                     
Prevalence of schoolwide disruptions9                    
No disruptions    923 7 1,734 0.2   3,076 24 7,607 0.9
Any disruptions    224 15 275 0.2   542 36 1,561 1.3
                     
Percent of students absent on a daily basis                     
0–2 percent    74 6 181 0.3   182 16 369 0.5
3–5 percent    501 6 814 0.2   1,656 21 3,727 0.7
6–10 percent    479 10 872 0.3   1,532 31 4,516 1.3
More than 10 percent    93 14 142 0.3   246 38 556 1.3
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 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 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.


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