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Table 15.  Number and percentage distribution of students in public high schools involved in the use or possession of a firearm or explosive device at school receiving various disciplinary actions, by selected school characteristics: School year 2009–10

  Disciplinary actions taken for students involved in the use or possession of a firearm or explosive device1 at school
  Removals with no continuing services for at least the remainder of the school year     Transfers to specialized schools2     Out-of-school suspensions lasting 5 or more days but less than the remainder of the school year     Other disciplinary actions3  
School characteristic Number of students   Percent of students     Number of students   Percent of students     Number of students   Percent of students     Number of students   Percent of students  
All public high schools 520 1,810 !  
Enrollment size  
Less than 300  
500–999 90 !  
1,000 or more 330  
City 180 !  
Suburb 120  
Town 70 ! #  
Rural 150 ! 160 !  
Crime level where students live4                                      
High 90 !  
Moderate 170 !  
Low 190 !  
Mixed 70 !  
Percent of combined Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, and American Indian/ Alaska Native students                                      
Less than 5 percent  
5 to less than 20 percent 60 !  
20 to less than 50 percent 260  
50 percent or more 160 !  
Percent of students eligible for
free or reduced-price lunch
0–20 percent 50 ! 16.1 ! 40 ! 13.0 ! 150 !  
21–50 percent 230  
More than 50 percent 240  
Percent of students below 15th
percentile on standardized tests
0–5 percent 200 !  
6–15 percent 210  
More than 15 percent 200 !                    
Percent of students likely
to attend college
0–35 percent  
36–60 percent 220  
More than 60 percent 230 14.8 ! 280 ! 17.7 ! 580 !  
Percent of students who consider
academic achievement important
0–25 percent
26–50 percent 160 !
51–75 percent 110 ! 21.1 ! 170 ! 33.1 ! 210 !
More than 75 percent 220 ! 51.0 !
Percent male enrollment
0–44 percent
45–55 percent 460 340 ! 45.4 !
More than 55 percent # # # 71.4
Student-to-FTE ratio5
Less than 12 students
12–16 students 180
More than 16 students 300 52.7 !
Number of classroom changes 6                                      
0–3 changes
4–6 changes 250 !
More than 6 changes 250 ! 53.1 !
Regular use of law enforcement 7
Regular use 460
No regular use
Number of serious discipline problems8                                      
No problems 250 51.5
1 problem 100 !
2 problems 50 !
3 or more problems
Transfers as a percentage of enrollment9                                      
Less than 6 percent # #
6 to less than 11 percent 50 ! 24.2 !
11 to less than 21 percent 130 ! 59.1
21 percent or more 290 !                    
Prevalence of schoolwide disruptions10                                      
No disruptions 500
Any disruptions
Percent of students
absent on a daily basis 
0–2 percent  
3–5 percent 140 !  
6–10 percent 230 ! 20.7 ! 240 ! 200 !  
More than 10 percent 140 ! 69.8 !
Prevalence of violent incidents11                                       
No violent incidents # # # # # # # #
Any violent incidents 520                      
#Rounds to zero.
!Interpret data with caution. The standard error for this estimate is from 30 percent to 50 percent of the estimate’s value.
‡Reporting standards not met. The standard error represents more than 50 percent of the estimate.
1Firearm or explosive device was defined for respondents as "any weapon that is designed to (or may readily be converted to) expel a projectile by the action of an explosive. This includes guns, bombs, grenades, mines, rockets, missiles, pipe bombs, or similar devices designed to explode and capable of causing bodily harm or property damage."
2Specialized school was defined for respondents as "a school that is specifically for students who were referred for disciplinary reasons, although the school may also have students who were referred for other reasons. The school may be at the same location as your school."
3Other disciplinary actions include suspension less than 5 days, detention, etc.
4Respondents were asked, "How would you describe the crime level in the area(s) in which your students live?" Response options included "high level of crime," "moderate level of crime," "low level of crime," and "students come from areas with very different levels of crime."
5Student-to-FTE ratio was calculated by dividing the total number of students enrolled in the school by the total number of full-time-equivalent teachers and aides. The total number of full-time-equivalent teachers and aides is a combination of the full-time and part-time teachers and aides, including special education teachers and aides, with an adjustment to compensate for the part-time status.
6Respondents were asked, "How many classroom changes do most students make in a typical day?" Responses exclude morning arrival and afternoon departure.
7Respondents were asked, "During the 2009–10 school year, did you have any security guards, security personnel, or sworn law enforcement officers present at your school at least once a week?"
8Serious discipline problems include student racial/ethnic tensions, student bullying, student sexual harassment of other students, student verbal abuse of teachers, widespread disorder in classrooms, student acts of disrespect for teachers other than verbal abuse, gang activities, and cult or extremist group activities. If a respondent reported that any of these problems occurred daily or weekly in their school, each was counted once in the total number of serious discipline problems.
9Transfers as a percentage of enrollment combines the number of students who were transferred to a school and the number of students who were transferred from a school divided by the total number of students enrolled in the school.
10Schoolwide disruptions include actions that disrupted school activities such as death threats, bomb threats, and chemical, biological, or radiological threats. Respondents were instructed to exclude all fire alarms, including false alarms.
11Violent incidents include rape or attempted rape, sexual battery other than rape, physical attack or fight with or without a weapon, threat of physical attack with or without a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon.
NOTE: "At school" was defined for respondents to include activities that happen in school buildings, on school grounds, on school buses, and at places that hold school-sponsored events or activities. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. The number of incidents, students, or disciplinary actions reported for a specified offense will not always be equal. This may be because a single incident could involve multiple students or because no disciplinary action is taken for an incident. Responses were provided by the principal or the person most knowledgeable about crime and safety issues at the school.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 2009–10 School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS).