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Indicator 9: Students’ Reports of Being Called Hate-Related Words and Seeing Hate-Related Graffiti
(Last Updated: April 2019)

In 2017, about 6 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being called hate-related words at school during the school year, representing a decrease from 12 percent in 2001. About 23 percent of students reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year in 2017, representing a decrease from 36 percent in 2001.

The School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey collects data on students’ reports of being called hate-related49 words and seeing hate-related graffiti at school.50 Specifically, students ages 12–18 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. Additionally, students were asked if they had seen hate-related graffiti at their school—that is, hate-related words or symbols written in classrooms, bathrooms, or hallways or on the outside of the school building.

In 2017, about 6 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being called hate-related words at school during the school year, representing a decrease from 12 percent in 2001 (figure 9.1 and table 9.1). The percentage of students who reported being called hate-related words at school in 2017 was not measurably different from the percentage in 2015. In 2017, about 23 percent of students reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year, representing a decrease from 36 percent in 2001. In addition, the percentage of students who reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school in 2017 was lower than the percentage in 2015 (27 percent).


Figure 9.1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being called hate-related words and seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year, by sex: Selected years, 2001 through 2017

Figure 9.1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being called hate-related words and seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year, by sex: Selected years, 2001 through 2017

1 In 2005 and prior years, the period covered by the survey question was “during the last 6 months,” whereas the period was “during this school year” beginning in 2007. Cognitive testing showed that estimates for earlier years are comparable to those for 2007 and later years.
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, 2001 through 2017.


The percentages of male students who reported being called a hate-related word and seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year did not measurably differ from the percentages for female students in any survey year from 2001 to 2017. During this period, the percentage of male students who reported being called a hate-related word decreased from 13 to 6 percent, and the percentage of female students decreased from 12 to 7 percent. Similarly, the percentage of male students who reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school decreased from 35 to 23 percent between 2001 and 2017, and the percentage of female students decreased from 37 to 24 percent during the same period. The percentage of male students who reported being called a hate-related word was lower in 2017 than in 2015, and the percentages of male students and female students who reported seeing hate-related graffiti were lower in 2017 than in 2015.

In 2017, lower percentages of Asian students (5 percent) and White students (6 percent) than of students of Two or more races (11 percent) reported being called a hate-related word at school during the school year (figure 9.2 and table 9.1). Also in 2017, a lower percentage of Asian students (15 percent) than of students who were Hispanic (21 percent), White (24 percent), Black (25 percent), and of Two or more races (35 percent) reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year. In addition, lower percentages of Hispanic, White, and Black students than of students of Two or more races reported seeing hate-related graffiti. The percentages of White, Black, and Hispanic students who reported being called a hate-related word and seeing hate-related graffiti all decreased between 2001 and 2017.


Figure 9.2. 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: 2017

Figure 9.2. 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: 2017

! 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.
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.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2017.


Some measurable differences were observed across grade levels in students’ reports of being called a hate-related word and seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year. In 2017, lower percentages of 11th- and 12th-graders (5 percent each) than of 7th- and 9th-graders (7 and 8 percent, respectively) reported being called a hate-related word at school, and lower percentages of 6th and 7th-graders (21 percent each) than of 10th-graders (27 percent) reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school.

In 2017, a lower percentage of private school students reported being called a hate-related word at school during the school year than did public school students (4 vs. 7 percent). Similarly, in 2017, a lower percentage of private school students reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school than did public school students (6 vs. 25 percent). The pattern of a lower percentage of private school students than of public school students reporting seeing hate-related graffiti at school was also observed in each data collection year between 2001 and 2015.

Students who reported being called hate-related words at school during the school year were asked to indicate whether the derogatory word they were called referred to their race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. In 2017, a lower percentage of male students than of female students reported being called a hate-related word referring to their gender (less than 1 percent vs. 2 percent; figure 9.3 and table 9.2). However, a lower percentage of female students than of male students reported being called a hate-related word referring to their religion (less than 1 percent vs. 1 percent).


Figure 9.3. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being called hate-related words at school during the school year, by type of hate-related word and sex: 2017

Figure 9.3. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being called hate-related words at school during the school year, by type of hate-related word and sex: 2017

1 Students who reported being called hate-related words were asked which specific characteristics these words were related to. 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 was counted only once in the total percentage of students who were called any hate-related words.
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, 2017.


Race was the most frequently reported characteristic referred to by hate-related words. In 2017, a lower percentage of White students than of students of any other race/ethnicity for which data were available reported being called a hate-related word referring to their race. Specifically, 2 percent of White students reported being called a hate-related word referring to their race, compared with 3 percent of Hispanic students, 4 percent of Asian students, 5 percent of Black students, and 8 percent of students of Two or more races.


This indicator has been updated to include 2017 data. For more information: Tables 9.1 and 9.2, and https://nces.ed.gov/programs/crime/.


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