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

Students’ Reports of Hate-Related Words and Hate-Related Graffiti

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

In 2019, about 7 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being called hate-related words at school during the school year, which was lower than the percentage reported in 2009 (9 percent). About 23 percent of students reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year in 2019, which was a decrease from 29 percent in 2009.

Based on principal reports from the School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), 2 percent of public schools reported hate crimes in 2017–18, for a total of about 5,700 hate crimes.1 Specifically, some 2 percent reported hate crimes motivated by race or color, 1 percent each reported hate crimes motivated by national origin or ethnicity and sexual orientation, and less than 1 percent each reported hate crimes motivated by religion, gender identity, sex, and disability.2

This indicator specifically examines hate speech, in the form of words spoken to students and graffiti drawn at school, which may or may not be reported to principals or other authorities. The School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey collects data on students’ reports of being called hate-related3 words and seeing hate-related graffiti at school.4 In this survey, students ages 12–18 (including both public and private school students) were asked whether someone at school had called them a derogatory word having to do with their race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. Students were also asked if they had seen hate-related graffiti at their school—such as hate-related words or symbols written in classrooms, bathrooms, or hallways or on the outside of the school building.

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Figure 1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being called hate-related words and seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year: Selected years, 2009 through 2019
Figure 1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being called hate-related words and seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year: Selected years, 2009 through 2019

NOTE: “At school” includes in the school building, on school property, on a school bus, and going to and from school. “Hate-related” refers to derogatory terms used by others in reference to students’ personal characteristics.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2009 through 2019. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 230.30.

Figure 2. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being called hate-related words and seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year, by selected student and school characteristics: 2019
Figure 2. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being called hate-related words and seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year, by selected student and school characteristics: 2019

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

‡ Reporting standards not met. Either there are too few cases for a reliable estimate or the coefficient of variation (CV) is 50 percent or greater.

1 Excludes students with missing information about the school characteristic.

NOTE: “At school” includes in the school building, on school property, on a school bus, and going to and from school. “Hate-related” refers to derogatory terms used by others in reference to students’ personal characteristics. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2019. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 230.30.

Figure 3. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being called hate-related words referring to various personal characteristics at school during the school year; and percentage called hate-related words referring to race, by race/ethnicity: 2019
Figure 3. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being called hate-related words referring to various personal characteristics at school during the school year; and percentage called hate-related words referring to race, by race/ethnicity: 2019

1 Students who reported being called hate-related words were asked to which specific characteristics these words were related. If a student reported being called more than one type of hate-related word (e.g., a derogatory term related to race as well as a derogatory term related to sexual orientation), the student would be counted separately in the percentage for each applicable category; however, the student would be counted only once in the total percentage of students who were called any hate-related words.

2 Total includes data for Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native students, which are not separately shown because data for these two groups did not meet reporting standards in 2019. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.

NOTE: “At school” includes in the school building, on school property, on a school bus, and going to and from school. “Hate-related” refers to derogatory terms used by others in reference to students’ personal characteristics. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2019. See Digest of Education Statistics 2020, table 230.35.


1 A hate crime was defined as a “committed criminal offense that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias(es) against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” Hate crimes are also known as bias crimes.

2 Schools that reported hate crimes motivated by multiple types of bias are counted separately under each type of bias reported.

3 “Hate-related” refers to derogatory terms used by others in reference to students’ personal characteristics.

4 “At school” includes in the school building, on school property, on a school bus, and going to and from school.

5 For 2013 and prior years, the four-category school locale information (city, suburban, town, and rural) was not available and data by the control of school (public or private) were based on school information provided by the respondent. Beginning in 2015, data by the control of school were based on school information collected in the Common Core of Data and the Private School Universe Survey, which was appended to the School Crime Supplement data file and disaggregated at the student level; therefore, these data may not be entirely comparable with figures for earlier years. Analyses by school locale and control of school exclude students with missing information about the school characteristic.

Supplemental Information

Table 230.30 (Digest 2020) Percentage of students ages 12-18 who reported being called hate-related words and seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year, by selected student and school characteristics: Selected years, 1999 through 2019 ;
Table 230.35 (Digest 2020) Percentage of students ages 12-18 who reported being called hate-related words at school, by type of hate-related word and selected student and school characteristics: 2019 ;
Table 229.70 (Digest 2019) Number of hate crimes occurring at public schools, percentage of schools reporting any hate crimes, and percentage reporting hate crimes motivated by specific types of bias, by school level: 2015-16 and 2017-18
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Previous versions of this indicator available in the Indicators of School Crime and Safety reports.
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