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Indicator 10: Students' Reports of Being Called Hate-Related Words and Seeing Hate-Related Graffiti
(Last Updated: May 2017)

In 2015, about 7 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being the target of hate-related words and 27 percent reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year. The percentage of students who reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school was higher in 2015 than in 2013 (25 percent). The percentage of students who reported being the target of hate-related words at school in 2015 was not measurably different from the percentage in 2013.

The School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey collects data on students' reports of being the target of hate-related54 words and seeing hate-related graffiti at school.55 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 2015, about 7 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being the target of hate-related words at school during the school year, which represented a decrease from 12 percent in 2001 (the first year of data collection for this item; figure 10.1 and table 10.1). The percentage of students who reported being the target of hate-related words at school in 2015 was not measurably different from the percentage in 2013. In 2015, about 27 percent of students reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year, representing a decrease from 36 percent in 1999, when data for students' reports of seeing hate-related graffiti at school were first collected. However, the percentage of students who reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school in 2015 was higher than the percentage in 2013 (25 percent).


Figure 10.1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being the target of hate-related words and seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year, by selected student and school characteristics: 2015

Figure 10.1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being the target of hate-related words and seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year, by selected student and school characteristics: 2015

! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
1 Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. "Other" includes American Indians/Alaska Natives, Pacific Islanders, and persons of Two or more races.
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, 2015.


The percentage of male students who reported being called a hate-related word during the school year did not differ measurably from the percentage for female students in any survey year from 2001 to 2015. During this period, the percentage of male students who reported being called a hate-related word decreased from 13 to 8 percent and the percentage for female students decreased from 12 to 7 percent. However, for both male and female students, there were no measurable differences in the percentage of students who reported being called a hate-related word between 2013 and 2015.

The percentage of male students who reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year did not measurably differ from the percentage for female students in most survey years from 1999 to 2015. During this period, the percentage of male students who reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school decreased from 34 to 26 percent and the percentage for female students decreased from 39 to 28 percent. However, for both male and female students, no measurable differences were observed between the two most recent survey years (2013 and 2015) in the percentage of students who reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school.

In 2015, lower percentages of White (6 percent) and Hispanic (7 percent) students than of Black (9 percent) students reported being called a hate-related word at school during the school year. Also in 2015, a lower percentage of Asian students than students of any other race/ethnicity reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school during the school year. About 17 percent of Asian students reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school, compared with 25 percent of Black students, 27 percent of Hispanic students, and 29 percent of White students. The percentages of White, Black, and Hispanic students who reported being called a hate-related word at school decreased between 2001 and 2015. Similarly, the percentages of White, Black, and Hispanic students who reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school also decreased between 1999 and 2015.

Some measurable differences were observed across grades in students' reports of being called a hate-related word at school. In 2015, lower percentages of 11th- and 12th-graders (6 and 5 percent, respectively) than of 6th- and 8th-graders (10 and 9 percent, respectively) reported being called a hate-related word at school. There were no measurable differences by grade, however, in the percentages of students who reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school in 2015.

In each data collection year between 1999 and 2015, a higher percentage of public school students than of private school students reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school. For instance, in 2015, approximately 28 percent of public school students reported seeing hate-related graffiti at school, compared with 12 percent of private school students. The percentage of public school students who reported being called a hate-related word in 2015 was also higher than the percentage of private school students who reported so (8 vs. 3 percent).

Students who reported being the target of hate-related words at school in 2015 were asked to indicate whether the derogatory word they were called referred to their race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. In 2015, a lower percentage of male students than of female students reported being called a hate-related word referring to their gender (1 vs. 2 percent; figure 10.2 and table 10.2).


Figure 10.2. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being the target of hate-related words at school during the school year, by type of hate-related word and sex: 2015

Figure 10.2. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being the target of hate-related words at school during the school year, by type of hate-related word and sex: 2015

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 the target of 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, 2015.


Race was the most frequently reported characteristic referred to by hate-related words. A lower percentage of White students than students of any other race/ethnicity reported being the target of a hate-related word referring to their race in 2015. Specifically, 2 percent of White students reported being called a hate-related word referring to their race, compared with 4 percent of Hispanic students, 5 percent of Black students, and 9 percent of Asian students.


This indicator repeats information from the Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2016 report. For more information: Tables 10.1 and 10.2, and https://nces.ed.gov/programs/crime/.


54 "Hate-related" refers to derogatory terms used by others in reference to students' personal characteristics.
55 "At school" includes in the school building, on school property, on a school bus, and, from 2001 onward, going to and from school.