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Indicator 4: Threats and Injuries With Weapons on School Property
(Last Updated: March 2018)

In 2015, about 6 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. In each survey year from 1993 to 2015, a lower percentage of female students than of male students in grades 9–12 reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the previous 12 months.

In the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), students in grades 9–12 were asked whether they had been threatened or injured with a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club on school property36 during the 12 months preceding the survey. In 2015, about 6 percent of students in grades 9–12 reported that they had been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property (figure 4.1 and table 4.1). The percentage of students who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property was lower in 2015 than in every survey year between 1993 (7 percent; the first year of data collection) and 2011 (7 percent). However, there was no measurable difference between the percentages in 2013 and 2015.


Figure 4.1. Percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property at least once during the previous 12 months, by sex: Selected years, 1993 through 2015

Figure 4.1. Percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property at least once during the previous 12 months, by sex: Selected years, 1993 through 2015

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), 1993 through 2015


In each survey year from 1993 to 2015, a lower percentage of female students than of male students in grades 9–12 reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the previous 12 months. In 2015, approximately 5 percent of female students reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, compared with 7 percent of male students. The percentage of female students who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property was lower in 2015 than in 2013 (5 vs. 6 percent); however, the percentage for male students was not measurably different between these two years.

The percentage of students who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property differed by race/ethnicity and grade level. In 2015, lower percentages of Asian students (4 percent) and White students (5 percent) than of Black students (8 percent) and Pacific Islander students (20 percent) reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the previous 12 months (figure 4.2 and table 4.1). In addition, the percentage of students who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property was lower for White students than for Hispanic students (5 vs. 7 percent). In 2015, lower percentages of 12th‑ (4 percent) and 11th-graders (5 percent) than of 9th-graders (7 percent) reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property.


Figure 4.2. Percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property at least once during the previous 12 months, by race/ethnicity: 2015

Figure 4.2. Percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property at least once during the previous 12 months, by race/ethnicity: 2015

! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
NOTE: Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. 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), 2015.


In 2015, the YRBS added a new question to identify students' sexual orientation by asking students in grades 9–12 which of the following best described them—"heterosexual (straight)," "gay or lesbian," "bisexual," or "not sure."37 In 2015, a higher percentage of gay, lesbian, or bisexual students than of heterosexual students reported that they were threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the previous 12 months (10 vs. 5 percent; table 4.2). In addition, the percentage of students reporting being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property was higher for students who were not sure about their sexual orientation than for heterosexual students (13 vs. 5 percent).

Students in grades 9–12 were asked how many times they had been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the previous 12 months. In 2015, about 94 percent of students reported that they had not been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property (table 4.1). In contrast, 3 percent of students in grades 9–12 reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property once during the previous 12 months, and 1 percent each reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property 2 or 3 times, 4 to 11 times, and 12 or more times (figure 4.3).


Figure 4.3. Percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property at least once during the previous 12 months, by number of times threatened or injured and grade: 2015

Figure 4.3. Percentage of students in grades 9–12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property at least once during the previous 12 months, by number of times threatened or injured and grade: 2015

! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
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. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), 2015.


In 2015, data on the percentage of public school students who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the previous 12 months were available for 30 states and the District of Columbia. Among these jurisdictions, the percentages of students who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property ranged from 4 percent in Massachusetts to 11 percent in Arkansas (table 4.3).


This indicator repeats information from the Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2016 report, but the text has been revised to include additional breakouts that were previously included in a Spotlight feature. For more information: Tables 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016a), (http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/pdf/2015/ss6506_updated.pdf), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016b), (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/ss/pdfs/ss6509.pdf).


36 "On school property" was not defined for survey respondents.
37 In this indicator, students who identified as "gay or lesbian" or "bisexual" are discussed together as the "gay, lesbian, or bisexual" group. Although there are likely to be differences among students who identify with each of these orientations, small sample sizes preclude analysis for each of these groups separately. Students were not asked whether they identified as transgender on the YRBS.