Amid all the talk of school shootings, it’s unusual to hear that violence in schools is on the decline. That’s the finding of a new federal report on school safety.
The report, produced annually by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics compiles data for the 2015-16 school year so it does not reflect trends from the last three years. Still, when compared with other historical data, the data yield some interesting findings. These include:
Victims. Only 3 percent of students ages 12-18 reported being the nonfatal victim of a crime in the last six months. Between 1995 and 2015, the percentage of students ages 12 to 18 who reported being victimized at school continued to decline, as did the percentages of students who reported theft, violent victimization and serious victimization.
Homicides. For the period, 1993 to 2015, the percentage of youth homicides, ages 5 to 18, occurring at school remained at less than 3 percent of all youth homicides and the percentage of youth suicides occuring at school remained at less than 2 percent of the total number of youth suicides. Aside from some intermittent spikes the number of youth homicides has declined slowly since 1992.
Weapons. Six percent of students in grades 9 through 12 reported being threatened with a weapon on school property at least once during the past twelve months. The total number of threats has declined slowly since 2003.
Student Fear. Over the period 1995 to 2015, the percentage of students who reported being afraid of attack or harm at schools decreased from 12 percent to 3 percent. Likewise, the percentage of students who reported being afraid of attack declined from 6 percent (1999) to 2 percent (2015).
Of course we acknowledge the tragedy of recent school shootings, but when compared with larger historical trends, violence has been on the decline and schools have been getting safer.
To access the state report on crime violence and expulsions in North Carolina public schools, see here