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School Crime and Safety

Students’ Reports of Avoiding School Activities or Classes or Specific Places in School

Last Updated: May 2021
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This indicator also appears under Preprimary, Elementary, and Secondary Education.

In 2019, about 6 percent of students reported avoiding school activities or classes or one or more places in school during the previous school year because they thought someone might attack or harm them. Three percent of students reported avoiding school activities or classes, and 5 percent reported avoiding one or more places in school.

The School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey asked students ages 12–18 whether they avoided school activities or classes1 or one or more places in school2 because they were fearful that someone might attack or harm them. In 2019, the total percentage of students who reported avoiding school activities or classes or one or more places in school3 during the previous school year because they thought someone might attack or harm them was 6 percent, which was higher than the percentage who did so in 2009 (5 percent). In 2019, about 3 percent of students reported avoiding school activities or classes, and 5 percent reported avoiding one or more places in school.

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

Figure 1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported avoiding school activities or classes or avoiding one or more places in school because of fear of attack or harm during the school year: 2019
Figure 1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported avoiding school activities or classes or avoiding one or more places in school because of fear of attack or harm during the school year: 2019

NOTE: "Avoided school activities or classes" includes avoiding any activities, avoiding any classes, and staying home from school. "Avoided one or more places in school" includes avoiding entrance to the school, hallways or stairs in school, parts of the school cafeteria, any school restrooms, and other places inside the school building. Students were asked whether they avoided places, activities, or classes because they thought that someone might attack or harm them. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding and because students reporting more than one type of avoidance were counted only once in the totals. 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 230.80.

When examining the data for 2019 by specific type of avoidance students ages 12–18 engaged in because of fear of attack or harm, it can be observed that 2 percent reported avoiding any activities, 1 percent reported staying home from school, and 1 percent reported avoiding any classes. The percentage that reported avoiding activities was higher than the percentage that reported avoiding classes. With respect to students’ avoidance of specific places in school, 2 percent each reported avoiding any school restrooms, parts of the school cafeteria, and the hallways or stairs in school, which were all higher than the percentage that reported avoiding the entrance to the school and other places inside the school building (1 percent each). [Other]
Figure 2. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported avoiding one or more places in school because of fear of attack or harm during the school year, by selected student and school characteristics: 2019
Figure 2. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported avoiding one or more places in school because of fear of attack or harm 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 Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.

2 Excludes students with missing information about the school characteristic.

NOTE: "Avoided one or more places in school" includes avoiding entrance to the school, hallways or stairs in school, parts of the school cafeteria, any school restrooms, and other places inside the school building. 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 230.80.

The remainder of the indicator focuses on students’ avoidance of one or more places in school. As mentioned earlier in this indicator, the overall percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported avoiding one or more places in school during the previous school year because of fear of attack or harm was 5 percent in 2019. However, there were some measurable differences in these reports by student and school characteristics. Specifically, a higher percentage of students of Two or more races (11 percent) than of Hispanic (5 percent), Asian (4 percent), and White (4 percent) students reported avoiding one or more places in school. The percentage was also higher for Black students (7 percent) than for White students. In addition, higher percentages of 7th-, 8th-, and 9th-graders (5, 6, and 7 percent, respectively) than of 12th-graders (3 percent) reported avoiding one or more places in school. [Race/ethnicity ] [Grade level/Student level]
In 2019, the percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported avoiding one or more places in school was higher for those enrolled in schools in cities than for those enrolled in schools in rural areas (6 vs. 4 percent).4 In addition, a higher percentage of public school students than of private school students reported avoiding one or more places in school (5 vs. 2 percent). [Locale ] [Control of institution]
Figure 3. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported avoiding one or more places in school because of fear of attack or harm during the school year: Selected years, 2009 through 2019
Figure 3. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported avoiding one or more places in school because of fear of attack or harm during the school year: Selected years, 2009 through 2019

NOTE: "Avoided one or more places in school" includes avoiding entrance to the school, hallways or stairs in school, parts of the school cafeteria, any school restrooms, and other places inside the school building.

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 230.80.

Based on an examination of the data over the past decade, the overall percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported avoiding one or more places in school during the previous school year because of fear of attack or harm was higher in 2019 than in 2009 (5 vs. 4 percent). Similarly, the percentages of students reporting this kind of avoidance were higher in 2019 than in 2009 for White students (4 vs. 3 percent) and for 11th-graders (5 vs. 1 percent). However, for other student subgroups by sex, race/ethnicity, and grade level for which data were available, there was no measurable difference between 2009 and 2019 in students’ reports of avoiding one or more places in school. [Time series ] [Multiple student characteristics]
For the locale and control of students’ schools, comparable data have only been available since 2015.5 The percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported avoiding one or more places in school was higher in 2019 than in 2015 for students enrolled in schools in rural areas (4 vs. 2 percent) but not measurably different between the two years for students enrolled in schools in other locales. The percentage of public school students who reported avoiding one or more places in school was also higher in 2019 than in 2015 (5 vs. 4 percent).6 [Time series ] [Multiple school characteristics]

1 “Avoided school activities or classes” includes avoiding any activities, avoiding any classes, and staying home from school. Students who reported more than one type of avoidance of school activities or classes were counted only once in the total for avoiding activities or classes.

2 “Avoided one or more places in school” includes avoiding entrance to the school, hallways or stairs in school, parts of the school cafeteria, any school restrooms, and other places inside the school building. Students who reported avoiding multiple places in school were counted only once in the total for students avoiding one or more places.

3 In the total for any avoidance, students who reported both avoiding one or more places in school and avoiding school activities or classes were counted only once.

4 Analyses by school locale and control of school exclude students with missing information about the school characteristic.

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.

6 Two percent of private school students reported avoiding one or more places in school in 2019, but the data did not meet reporting requirements in 2015.

Supplemental Information

Table 230.80 (Digest 2020): Percentage of students ages 12-18 who reported avoiding one or more places in school or avoiding school activities or classes because of fear of attack or harm, by selected student and school characteristics: Selected years, 1995 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). Students’ Reports of Avoiding School Activities or Classes or Specific Places in School. Condition of Education. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved [date], from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/a17.