Crime in America.Net
Gentlereaders: The report below from two federal agencies using a wide variety of research is the best overview of crime in schools. We chose to list only a small selection of the findings below.
While the data indicates that crime in schools is serious and of concern, it does provide evidence that children are safer in than out of schools and long-range indicators, where available, suggest that crime in schools is either declining or leveling off.
34 percent of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that student misbehavior interfered with their teaching which is, at least to us, one of the most important indicators of school safety.
In 2007, 32 percent of students ages 12–18 reported having been bullied at school during the school year. Research indicates that most bullying occurs or begins at school. We are deeply troubled by the statistic and suspect it’s higher.
Students ages 12–18 were victims of 4 serious violent crimes per 1,000. While we all hear the horror stories of school violence, this statistic puts things nicely in perspective.
Key Findings from the Research
In the 2008–09 school years, an estimated 55.6 million students were enrolled in prekindergarten through grade 12. Preliminary data show that among youth ages 5–18, there were:
38 school-associated violent deaths from July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009.
In 2008, among students ages 12–18, there were about 1.2 million victims of nonfatal crimes at school, including:
743,100 violent crimes (simple assault and serious violent crime)
In 2009, 8 percent of students reported being threatened or injured with a weapon, such as a gun, knife, or club, on school property.
The following section presents key findings from each section of the report.
Of the 38 student, staff, and nonstudent school-associated violent deaths occurring between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009, 24 were homicides, and 14 were suicides. From July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009, there were 15 homicides and 7 suicides of school-age youth (ages 5–18) at school.
During the school year 2007–08, there were 1,701 homicides among school-age youth ages 5–18. During the 2007 calendar year, there were 1,231 suicides of youth ages 5–18.
Nonfatal Student and Teacher Victimization
In 2008, students ages 12 to 18 were victims of about 1.2 million nonfatal crimes at school, compared to about 1 million nonfatal crimes away from school
The rates for serious violent crimes were lower at school than away from school in 2008. In 2008, students ages 12–18 were victims of 4 serious violent crimes per 1,000 students at school and 8 serious violent crimes per 1,000 students away from school.
During the 2007–08 school year, 85 percent of public schools recorded that one or more incidents of crime had taken place at school, amounting to an estimated 2.0 million crimes. This figure translates to a rate of 43 crimes per 1,000 public school students enrolled in 2007–08.
During the same year, 62 percent of public schools reported an incident of crime that occurred at school to the police, amounting to about 704,000 crimes—or 15 crimes per 1,000 public school students enrolled (Indicator 6).
During the 2007–08 school year, 25 percent of public schools reported that bullying occurred among students on a daily or weekly basis, and 11 percent reported that student acts of disrespect for teachers other than verbal abuse took place on a daily or weekly basis.
Twenty percent of public schools reported that gang activities had happened at all during 2007–08.
In 2007, 32 percent of students ages 12–18 reported having been bullied at school during the school year. Twenty-one percent of students said that they had experienced bullying that consisted of being made fun of; 18 percent reported being the subject of rumors; 11 percent said that they were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; 6 percent said they were threatened with harm; 5 percent said they were excluded from activities on purpose; and 4 percent each said that someone tried to make them do things they did not want to do or that their property was destroyed on purpose.
In 2007–08, 34 percent of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that student misbehavior interfered with their teaching, and 32 percent reported that student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching
Fights, Weapons, and Illegal Substances
In 2009, 31 percent of students in grades 9–12 reported they had been in a physical fight at least one time during the previous 12 months anywhere, and 11 percent said they had been in a fight on school property during the previous 12 months. Generally, a higher percentage of students in 9th grade reported having been in fights than students in any other grade, both anywhere and on school property.
One percent of males said they had been in a fight on school property twelve or more times, compared to less than half a percent of females.
Between 1993 and 2009, the percentage of students who reported carrying a weapon at least one day anywhere during the past 30 days declined from 22 percent to 17 percent, and the percentage who reported carrying a weapon at least one day on school property also declined, from 12 percent to 6 percent (Indicator 14).
Fear and Avoidance
In 2007, approximately 5 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that they were afraid of attack or harm at school, and 3 percent reported that they were afraid of attack or harm away from school.
Discipline, Safety, and Security Measures
Forty-six percent of public schools (approximately 38,500 schools) took at least one serious disciplinary action against a student during the 2007–08 school years. Of the 767,900 serious disciplinary actions taken, 76 percent were suspensions for 5 days or more, 19 percent were transfers to specialized schools, and 5 percent were removals with no services for the remainder of the school year.
Although the overall percentage of public schools taking a serious disciplinary action declined between 1999–2000 (54 percent) and 2003–04 (46 percent), there has been no measurable change since then. This same general pattern of decline between the period of 1999–2000 and 2003–04 with no measurable change in more recent survey years held both for the percentage of public schools that reported taking serious disciplinary actions for the offense of physical attacks or fights and for the offense of insubordination.
The 2010 edition of Indicators of School Crime and Safety includes the most recent available data, compiled from a number of statistical data sources supported by the federal government. Such sources include results from a study of violent deaths in schools, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the National Crime Victimization Survey and School Crime Supplement to the survey, sponsored by the BJS and NCES, respectively; the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, sponsored by the CDC; and the Schools and Staffing Survey and School Survey on Crime and Safety, both sponsored by NCES.
The entire report is available on the Internet (). The Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics continue to work together in order to provide timely and complete data on the issues of school-related violence and safety.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting, analyzing, and reporting data related to education in the United States and other nations. It fulfills a congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report full and complete statistics on the condition of education in the United States; conduct and publish reports and specialized analyses of the meaning and significance of such statistics; assist state and local education agencies in improving their statistical systems; and review and report on education activities in other countries.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) is the primary federal entity for collecting, analyzing, publishing, and disseminating statistical information about crime, its perpetrators and victims, and the operation of the justice system at all levels of government. These data are critical to federal, state, and local policymakers in combating crime and ensuring that justice is both efficient and evenhanded.