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Indicator 4: Threats and Injuries With Weapons on School Property
(Last Updated: April 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 decreased from 9 percent in 2001 to 6 percent in 2017. In each survey year from 2001 to 2017, a lower percentage of female students than of male students reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property.

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 property”33 during the 12 months preceding the survey. In 2017, 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: 3 percent reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property once, 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 (tables 4.1 and 4.2).

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 decreased from 9 percent in 2001 to 6 percent in 2017 (figure 4.1 and table 4.1). The percentage also decreased between 2001 and 2017 for both male students (from 12 to 8 percent) and female students (from 7 to 4 percent). In each survey year from 2001 to 2017, a lower percentage of female students than of male students reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property. For instance, in 2017, approximately 4 percent of female students reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, compared with 8 percent of male students.


Figure 4.1. 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, 2001 through 2017

Figure 4.1. 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, 2001 through 2017

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), 2001 through 2017.


In 2017, 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 differed by race/ethnicity and grade level. Lower percentages of Asian students (4 percent) and White students (5 percent) than of Black students (8 percent), students of Two or more races (8 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native students (14 percent) reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property (figure 4.2 and table 4.1). The percentage of Hispanic students (6 percent) who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property was lower than the percentages for Black students and American Indian/Alaska Native students. In 2017, lower percentages of 11th- and 12th-graders (5 percent each) than of 9th- and 10th-graders (7 percent each) 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 one time during the previous 12 months, by race/ ethnicity: 2017

Figure 4.2. 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 race/ ethnicity: 2017

! 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), 2017.


Since 2015, the YRBS has included a 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.”34 In 2017, 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 orientation (11 percent) and gay, lesbian, or bisexual students (9 percent) than for heterosexual students (5 percent; table 4.1).

In 2017, 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 33 states and the District of Columbia.35 Among these jurisdictions, the percentages of students who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property ranged from 5 percent in Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Vermont, California, and Pennsylvania to 13 percent in Louisiana (table 4.3).


This indicator has been updated to include 2017 data. For more information: Tables 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2018), (https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/pdf/2017/ss6708.pdf).


33 “On school property” was not defined for survey respondents.
34 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.
35 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.