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Indicator 17: Students’ Reports of Avoiding School Activities or Classes or Specific Places in School
(Last Updated: April 2019)

In 2017, about 6 percent of students reported avoiding school activities or classes or one or more places in school during the previous school year because they thought someone might attack or harm them. This percentage was higher than the percentage in 2015 (5 percent).

The School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey asked students ages 12–18 whether they avoided school activities or classes75 or one or more places in school76 because they were fearful that someone might attack or harm them.77 In 2017, about 6 percent of students reported avoiding school activities or classes or one or more places in school78 during the previous school year because they thought someone might attack or harm them (figure 17.1 and table 17.1). Two percent of students reported avoiding school activities or classes, and 5 percent reported avoiding one or more places in school.


Figure 17.1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported avoiding school activities or classes or avoiding one or more places in school because of fear of attack or harm during the school year: 2015 and 2017

Figure 17.1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported avoiding school activities or classes or avoiding one or more places in school because of fear of attack or harm during the school year: 2015 and 2017

NOTE: “Avoided school activities or classes” includes avoiding any (extracurricular) activities, avoiding any classes, and staying home from school. “Avoided one or more places in school” includes avoiding entrance to the school, hallways or stairs in school, parts of the school cafeteria, any school restrooms, and other places inside the school building. Students were asked whether they avoided places, activities, or classes because they thought that someone might attack or harm them. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding and because students reporting more than one type of avoidance were counted only once in the totals.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2015 and 2017.


There was no overall pattern of increase or decrease between 2001 and 2017 in the total percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported avoiding school activities or classes or one or more places in school because of fear of attack or harm. However, the total percentage in 2017 was higher than the total percentage in 2015 (6 vs. 5 percent). The percentage of students who reported avoiding one or more places in school was also higher in 2017 than in 2015 (5 vs. 4 percent), while the percentage who reported avoiding school activities or classes was not measurably different between the two years.

In 2017, about 1 percent each of students ages 12–18 reported avoiding any activities, avoiding any classes, and staying home from school because of fear of attack or harm. With respect to avoiding specific places in school, 2 percent each of students reported avoiding parts of the school cafeteria, any school restrooms, and the hallways or stairs in school, and 1 percent each reported avoiding the entrance to the school and other places inside the school building. The percentages of students who reported avoiding parts of the school cafeteria and any school restrooms were one percentage point higher in 2017 than in 2015.

Students’ reports of avoiding one or more places in school because of fear of attack or harm varied by sex and grade. In 2017, a higher percentage of female students ages 12–18 than of male students ages 12–18 reported avoiding one or more places in school (6 vs. 4 percent; figure 17.2 and table 17.1). In addition, higher percentages of 6th-, 7th-, and 9th-graders (7 percent each) than of 8th- (4 percent) and 12th-graders (3 percent) reported avoiding one or more places in school. There were no measurable differences by race/ethnicity in the percentage of students who reported avoiding one or more places in school because of fear of attack or harm.


Figure 17.2. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported avoiding one or more places in school because of fear of attack or harm during the school year, by selected student and school characteristics: 2017

Figure 17.2. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported avoiding one or more places in school because of fear of attack or harm 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.
1 Refers to the Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) status of the respondent’s household as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Categories include “central city of an MSA (Urban),” “in MSA but not in central city (Suburban),” and “not MSA (Rural).”
NOTE: “Avoided one or more places in school” includes avoiding entrance to the school, hallways or stairs in school, parts of the school cafeteria, any school restrooms, and other places inside the school building.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2017.


In 2017, a higher percentage of students ages 12–18 in urban areas than of students in rural areas reported avoiding one or more places in school (6 vs. 4 percent). In addition, a higher percentage of public school students than of private school students reported avoiding one or more places in school (5 vs. 3 percent).


This indicator has been updated to include 2017 data. For more information: Table 17.1, and https://nces.ed.gov/programs/crime/.


75 “Avoided school activities or classes” includes avoiding any (extracurricular) activities, avoiding any classes, and staying home from school. Students who reported more than one type of avoidance of school activities or classes were counted only once in the total for avoiding activities or classes. Before 2007, students were asked whether they avoided "any extracurricular activities." Starting in 2007, the survey wording was changed to "any activities." Caution should be used when comparing changes in this item over time.
76 “Avoided one or more places in school” includes avoiding entrance to the school, hallways or stairs in school, parts of the school cafeteria, any school restrooms, and other places inside the school building. Students who reported avoiding multiple places in school were counted only once in the total for students avoiding one or more places.
77 For the 2001 survey only, the wording was changed from "attack or harm" to "attack or threaten to attack." See appendix A for more information.
78 In the total for any avoidance, students who reported both avoiding one or more places in school and avoiding school activities or classes were counted only once.