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Table 5.  Number and percentage of public high 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    1,503 14 2,728 0.2   3,179 29 10,697 0.9
                     
Enrollment size                     
Less than 300    73 4 73 0.2   193 12 292 0.8
300–499    95 6 111 0.2   221 14 388 0.6
500–999    322 12 368 0.2   729 26 1,507 0.7
1,000 or more    1,013 21 2,176 0.3   2,036 42 8,511 1.0
                     
Urbanicity                     
City    526 22 1,117 0.3   1,027 44 4,652 1.4
Urban fringe    442 13 908 0.2   1,050 30 3,520 0.7
Town    210 12 257 0.2   480 27 1,089 0.8
Rural    326 10 447 0.2   622 19 1,437 0.7
                     
Crime level where
students live2 
                   
High    153 27 348 0.5   342 61 2,007 2.8
Moderate    369 17 683 0.3   816 37 3,174 1.2
Low    655 10 1,019 0.2   1,379 21 3,569 0.6
Mixed    326 20 678 0.3   641 40 1,946 0.9
                     
Percent minority
enrollment3 
                   
Less than 5 percent    100 4 144 0.1   453 18 633 0.4
5 to 20 percent    467 17 719 0.2   701 25 1,653 0.5
20 to 50 percent    300 12 640 0.2   713 28 2,700 0.9
50 percent or more    583 21 1,124 0.3   1,285 47 5,647 1.5
                     
Percent of students
eligible for free or
reduced-price lunch 
                   
0–20 percent    482 13 794 0.2   964 26 2,769 0.6
21–50 percent    555 12 1,127 0.2   1,376 30 4,422 1.0
More than 50 percent    465 18 807 0.3   838 33 3,505 1.4
                     
Percent of students
below 15th percentile
on standardized tests 
                   
0–5 percent    283 10 415 0.1   685 23 1,933 0.6
6–15 percent    554 12 999 0.2   1,239 26 3,239 0.6
More than 15 percent    667 22 1,313 0.4   1,254 41 5,525 1.7
                     
Percent of students likely
to attend college 
                   
0–35 percent    379 18 743 0.4   885 42 3,243 1.6
36–60 percent    488 15 806 0.3   845 26 2,367 0.7
More than 60 percent    636 12 1,179 0.2   1,449 26 5,087 0.8
                     
Percent of students who
consider academic
achievement important 
                   
0–25 percent    128 15 316 0.5   219 25 865 1.3
26–50 percent    427 20 745 0.3   755 35 2,753 1.3
51–75 percent    364 11 558 0.2   1,098 32 3,322 0.9
More than 75 percent    584 13 1,108 0.2   1,107 26 3,756 0.7
                     
Percent male enrollment                     
0–44 percent    108 12 219 0.3   320 35 1,085 1.3
45–55 percent    1,327 15 2,426 0.2   2,645 29 8,676 0.8
More than 55 percent    68 8 84 0.2   214 24 936 1.7
                     
Student-to-teacher ratio4                     
Less than 12 students    284 7 431 0.2   971 23 2,727 1.0
12–16 students    687 17 1,308 0.3   1,250 31 4,031 0.8
More than 16 students    532 21 989 0.3   958 38 3,939 1.0
                     
Number of classroom
changes5 
                   
0–3 changes    85 15 134 0.2   103 19 380 0.7
4–6 changes    837 16 1,620 0.3   1,706 33 5,862 1.0
More than 6 changes    581 12 975 0.2   1,370 27 4,454 0.9
                     
Regular use of law
enforcement6 
                   
Regular use    1,252 16 2,434 0.2   2,765 36 9,942 1.0
No regular use    251 8 294 0.2   414 13 755 0.5
                     
Number of serious
discipline problems7 
                   
No problems    704 10 1,208 0.2   1,572 23 4,704 0.7
1 problem    314 19 473 0.2   616 37 1,869 1.0
2 problems    242 20 517 0.4   412 34 1,329 0.9
3 or more problems    243 20 531 0.3   579 48 2,795 1.5
                     
Transfers as a percentage
of enrollment8 
                   
0 to 6 percent    253 10 520 0.2   704 27 2,271 0.9
6 to 11 percent    187 9 319 0.2   555 26 1,901 0.9
11 to 21 percent    634 19 943 0.2   941 28 3,229 0.8
21 percent or more    430 16 946 0.3   979 36 3,295 1.0
                     
Prevalence of schoolwide
disruptions9 
                   
No disruptions    1,218 13 2,213 0.2   2,442 27 7,723 0.8
Any disruptions    285 18 515 0.2   736 45 2,974 1.4
                     
Percent of students
absent on a daily basis 
                   
0–2 percent    66 10 93 0.2   152 23 260 0.5
3–5 percent    427 10 679 0.2   979 24 2,648 0.6
6–10 percent    713 15 1,454 0.3   1,538 32 5,333 0.9
More than 10 percent    298 24 503 0.4   509 40 2,456 2.0
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 the 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