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Recommendations of the Crime, Violence,
and Discipline Reporting Task Force

November 1996

(NCES 97-581) Ordering information

The following contains an excerpt from Recommendations of the Crime, Violence, and Discipline Reporting Task Force. This excerpt contains the document's foreword. A full copy of this report is available in portable document format (Adobe Acrobat PDF). You need the Acrobat Reader software to view these files.

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In recent years the incidence of criminal and violent behavior in schools has escalated. According to the ’ Schools and Staffing Survey, between 1990-91 and 1993-94 the proportion of teachers indicating that physical conflicts among students was a serious problem rose from 6.5 percent to 8.2 percent and the problem of student possession of weapons had increased from 1.2 percent to 2.8 percent. Teachers report problems on the rise in the areas of robbery and theft, and vandalism of school property as well.

Congress passed legislation in response to this rising tide of school violence. In 1986, the original Drug Free Schools and Communities Act was passed and funded for the first item in fiscal year 1987. In 1994, that act was modified to become the Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, passed as part of the Improving America's Schools Act. Two other important legislative mandates were passed in 1994: The Educate America Act (Goals 2000) contained Part B of title X--Gun-Free Schools Act-- and the National Education Goal #7 became Safe, Disciplined, and Alcohol-and Drug-free Schools.

Clearly, Congress has been paying more attention to criminal and violent behavior in schools. Yet, because legislation is relatively new, there has been little agreement on how to define and quantify disruptive behaviors in schools. As yet there is no comprehensive survey addressing crime, violence, and discipline in schools.

At the state and local level, legislators and administrators have started asking school agencies to report on the types and extent of disruptive behavior in their schools. In the absence of a consensus on the data required for either a national survey, or to accommodate a state or local education system's administrative needs, state education agency leaders brought the issue before the National Forum on Education Statistics. The Forum was asked to provide assistance on how a state or local education agency might best collect and report data on the incidence of crime, violence, and disciplinary behavior.

The National Education Statistical Agenda Committee of the Forum established a Crime, Violence and Discipline Task Force in the Spring of 1995. The Task Force consisted of a core group of data providers from six state and local education agencies. They received input from several federal offices dealing with crime issues and a plethora of representatives from states and agencies across the country.

The purpose of the Task Force was three-fold:

1) To describe the data collection systems in the various states as they related to the collection of crime, violence, and discipline information;

2) To recommend to the states and to the a model set of definitions for the collection of any state or national set of information regarding these data;

3) To describe for states wishing to establish a data system regarding this subject, a model which could be implemented within a state or adapted for use in a school district.

The Task Force immediately commissioned a survey to describe the existing data collection systems in the states. That document was produced by Infoteq in September 1995.

Once the Task Force knew what was being collected in the states, they began to sort through the information to find successful collections, and commonalities among collections. They found that most collections center around either an incident (i.e. fight) or an action (i.e. suspension). Some involved weapons or drugs and alcohol; others were gang or hate related. The Task Force took the position that the best way to track these variables, without duplication or reporting error, would be through a unit record system.

The Task Force pulled together a recommended model set of definitions and protocols for the collection of crime and violence data. This system is based on a unit record system--that is--an individual student reporting system.

Throughout 1996, this model was shared with both data collectors and program directors throughout the nation. Feedback was positive. The Task Force then presented the report to NESAC and the overall Forum where, in July 1996 it was adopted by the Forum.

The Task Force now presents this paper to the public as a model for the voluntary use by state and local education agencies interested in developing or improving their system for collecting data on crime, violence, and discipline. It is hoped that this model will provide guidance to those agencies in need of developing such a system, and that the use of this model will produce comparability and uniformity in collections across the country.


G. Lavan Dukes (Chair)
Florida Department of Education
Crime, Violence, and Discipline Task Force
National Education Statistical Agenda Committee
National Forum on Education Statistics
Crime and Violence Task Force

Annette Barwick
Hillsborough School District
Tampa, Florida

Cathy Hammond
Florida Department of education

Carol Hokenson
Minnesota Department of Education

Bunny Mack
South Carolina Department of Education

Charis McGaughy
Texas Education Agency

Bonnie Scudder
Denver Public Schools

Carol D. White
Delaware Department of Public Instruction

Carol Sue Fromboluti (staff)