The string of tragic violent incidents that occurred in school year 1997-1998 has refocused the American public's attention on school crime and safety. When the first events occurred, it became clear that there was no single source of information about crime and violence in the nation's schools, and President Clinton called on the Departments of Justice and Education to produce an annual report card on school violence. The Departments responded to that request by producing the Annual Report on School Safety: 1998 to inform educators, parents and students about the current nature of crime in schools and about programs schools and school systems have instituted to work towards making schools safer.
At the same time, the statistical agencies of the two departments identified a broader range of indicators on school crime and safety to be reported annually. This report, Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 1998, is a joint effort by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics. It is meant to provide detailed statistical information supporting the Annual Report. This series will provide the President, Congress, and the public with an analysis of the latest and best national data on school crime and safety in the United States.
In addition to providing this new report on school safety and crime, the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics have initiated new data collection efforts that will provide even more timely and accurate statistics on this issue in years to come. These efforts will include a more regularly conducted School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey scheduled now for 1999 and every two years thereafter, and a new biennial school-based survey starting in 2000 that will collect data on crime and discipline problems in our nation's schools.
We hope that this and subsequent reports will help inform the President, Congress, and the public on our nation's progress in providing our children with safe places to live and learn.
Pascal D. Forgione, Jr., Ph.D.
Commissioner of Education Statistics
Jan M. Chaiken, Ph.D.
Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics