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Principal/School Surveys

Principals' reports of crime, violence, and the general climate in their schools play an important role in providing a national picture of school crime and safety. By sending questionnaires to U.S. public school principals, NCES is able to obtain school-level data on school safety topics.

School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS)

The School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS) is the National Center for Education Statistics' (NCES) primary source of school-level data on crime and safety. SSOCS is a national survey of approximately 3,500 principals in U.S. public elementary, middle, and high schools. Conducted in 1999-2000, 2003-2004, 2005-06, 2007-08, 2009-10, 2015-16, and 2017-18 the survey covers topics such as:

  • Frequency and types of crimes occurring at school,
  • Disciplinary actions allowed and used in schools,
  • Policies and practices designed to prevent or reduce crime in schools, and
  • Characteristics of school climate related to safety.

Fast Response Survey System: Public School Safety and Discipline: 2013–14 ("SSOCS Lite")

The Fast Response Survey System (FRSS) survey collected a subset of SSOCS information on specific safety and discipline plans and practices, training for classroom teachers and aides related to school safety and discipline issues, security personnel, frequency of specific discipline problems, and number of incidents of various offenses.

Principal/School Disciplinarian Survey on School Violence

The Principal/School Disciplinarian Survey on School Violence was a one-time survey intended to collect data on school violence and other discipline issues for the 1996-97 school year. This national survey of about 1,200 principals in U.S. public elementary and secondary schools covered such topics as:

  • Frequency of specific crimes that had occurred at school during the 1996-97 academic year,
  • Principals' perceptions about the seriousness of a variety of discipline issues at their schools,
  • The types of disciplinary actions schools took against students for selected serious violations, and
  • The kinds of security measures and violence prevention programs that were in place in public schools during the 1996-97 school year.

Principal Survey on Safe, Disciplined, and Drug-free Schools

The Principal Survey on Safe, Disciplined, and Drug-free Schools was a one-time national survey of about 755 public elementary and secondary school principals. It collected data on the principals' perspectives on issues related to safety, discipline, and drug-use prevention in their schools during the 1990-91 school year. It covered such topics as:

  • The extent of discipline problems and disciplinary actions within their schools;
  • The nature of their schools' programs, policies, and drug education efforts; and
  • Principals' perceptions of the effectiveness of those policies.