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Annual Reports and Information Staff (Annual Reports)
Preprimary, Elementary, and Secondary Education

Threats and Injuries With Weapons on School Property

Last Updated: May 2021
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This indicator also appears under School Crime and Safety.

In 2019, about 7 percent of students in grades 9–12 reported that they had been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the previous 12 months. The percentage of students who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property decreased from 8 percent in 2009 to 6 percent in 2017; the percentage in 2019 was higher than that in 2017 but not measurably different from the percentage in 2009.

This indicator uses data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), which asked students in grades 9–12 whether they had been threatened or injured “with a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club on school property”1 during the 12 months preceding the survey.

Select a subgroup characteristic from drop-down menu below to view relevant text and figures.

Figure 1. Percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property at least one time during the previous 12 months, by sex: Selected years, 2009 through 2019
Figure 1. Percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property at least one time during the previous 12 months, by sex: Selected years, 2009 through 2019

NOTE: Survey respondents were asked about being threatened or injured “with a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club on school property.” “On school property” was not defined for respondents.

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), 2009 through 2019. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 228.40.

In 2019, about 7 percent of students in grades 9–12 reported that they had been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the 12 months preceding the survey (ranging from 5 percent in Massachusetts to 12 percent in California and Louisiana).2,3 The percentage of students who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property decreased from 8 percent in 2009 to 6 percent in 2017; the percentage in 2019 was higher than that in 2017 but not measurably different from the percentage in 2009. [Time series ] [State]
Considering this victimization by sex, some 8 percent of male students and 7 percent of female students reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property in 2019; these percentages were not measurably different from their corresponding percentages in 2009. In each survey year from 2009 to 2017, a lower percentage of female students than of male students reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property. However, there was no measurable difference between the percentages for male and female students in 2019. [Time series ] [Sex]
Figure 2. Percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property at least one time during the previous 12 months, by selected student characteristics: 2019
Figure 2. Percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property at least one time during the previous 12 months, by selected student characteristics: 2019

! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.

1 Students were asked which of the following--“heterosexual (straight),” “gay or lesbian,” “bisexual,” or “not sure”--best described them.

NOTE: Survey respondents were asked about being threatened or injured “with a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club on school property.” “On school property” was not defined for respondents. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), 2019. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 228.40.

In 2019, the percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the previous 12 months was lower for Asian students (3 percent) than for students of most other racial/ethnic groups (ranging from 7 percent each for Hispanic students and White students to 13 percent for American Indian/Alaska Native students). In addition, the percentage was lower for Hispanic students and White students than for students of Two or more races (11 percent). [Race/ethnicity ]
There were also differences in victimization by students’ sexual identity and grade level. Since 2015, the YRBSS has included a question on students’ sexual identity by asking students in grades 9–12 which of the following best described them—”heterosexual (straight),” “gay or lesbian,” “bisexual,” or “not sure.”4 In 2019, the percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the previous 12 months was higher for students who were not sure about their sexual identity (13 percent) and for students who were gay, lesbian, or bisexual (12 percent) than for heterosexual students (6 percent). Additionally, a higher percentage of 9th-graders (8 percent) than of 12th-graders (6 percent) reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property. [Grade level/Student level] [Sexual identity]

1 “On school property” was not defined for respondents.

2 U.S. total data are representative of all public and private school students in grades 9–12 in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. U.S. total data were collected through a separate national survey rather than being aggregated from state-level data. The rest of this indicator is based on data from the national survey.

3 In 2019, data at the state-level were available for 36 states and the District of Columbia. For detailed state-level data on the percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the 12 months preceding the survey, see the table on threats and injuries on school property for all locations in the YRBSS Youth Online Data Analysis Tool.

4 In this indicator, students who identified as “gay or lesbian” or “bisexual” are discussed together as the “gay, lesbian, or bisexual” group. Students were not asked whether they identified as transgender in the YRBSS.

Supplemental Information

Table 228.40 (Digest 2020): Percentage of students in grades 9-12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property at least one time during the previous 12 months, by selected student characteristics: Selected years, 1993 through 2019
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Previous versions of this indicator available in the Indicators of School Crime and Safety reports.
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Suggested Citation

National Center for Education Statistics. (2022). Threats and Injuries With Weapons on School Property. Condition of Education. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved [date], from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/a04.