School Crime and Safety Statistics
From a US Government Report entitled
Indicators of School Crime and Safety 2000
In a single School Year?
10% of public schools report a felony violent crime on school property to the police.
47% of public schools report misdemeanor crimes to the police.
23% of all ninth-grade students, when asked, reported carrying a weapon to school in the last 30 days.
10% of all high school students report carrying a weapon to school in the last 30 days.
Nationwide, 16,580 Students were disciplined or expelled for use/possession of firearms on school grounds.
10% of weapons seized on school property are at elementary schools.
8% of all high school students were threatened with a weapon (gun, knife, club) on school property this past year.
In 1996 there were 47 homicides and 12 suicides at school. 35 of the 47 homicide victims were other students at the school.
32% of high school students have been offered, sold, or given illegal drugs on school property this past year.
26% of students have used marijuana in the past 30 days.
51% of high schoolers report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days. Six percent did that drinking on school property.
Source: US Dept of Education / Nat?l Center for School Statistics (202) 502-7349 This report is from 1996, the last year in which complete statistics are available.
A total of 13 percent of American homes with children and guns (1.4 million homes with 2.6 million children) store firearms in a manner accessible to children.
"What has changed in America is availability of guns," says Laurence Steinberg, a criminologist at Temple University in Philadelphia. "In earlier generations, the same sets of problems leading youths to commit these atrocious killings would lead to fist or knife fights. Now they have access to handguns and automatic weapons so the crimes they commit have escalated out of control."
There are 56 million children in the USA. There are over 200 million firearms. It is not surprising, therefore, that children and firearms meet every year with tragic consequences. School shootings are really only a small part of the 3900 firearm deaths that occur annually among children aged 18 and younger.
50% of all firearms injuries and deaths on school grounds are ?accidental,? stemming from students carrying around or playing with a loaded weapon. More than half of the weapons on school campuses are brought by students for ?show and tell? purposes.
The most deaths in a single incident occurred at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO (April 1999) with 13 homicides and 2 suicides. Had the bombs detonated, the death toll would have been significantly higher.
The largest cache of armaments surrendered at school (in a student?s gym bag) included 18 bombs and 2 loaded guns in Elmyra, NY (February 2001)
The youngest shooter to kill another student was 6 years old, in Mount Morris Township, MI. (Feb 2000)
The youngest child to carry a handgun to school was 4 years old at a Head Start classroom in Oklahoma City. (August 1998)
Sources: National School Safety Center; Parents Magazine; American Journal of Public Health; APB Online; Houston ISD; Denver Post
School Weapons Incidents, By Type of Incident
Elmyra - Student brings 18 bombs and two loaded guns to school in his gym bag. He is apprehended after passing a threatening note to a fellow student. (NY, Feb 2001)
Binghamton - Bomb threats (almost daily) after the Columbine incident close or release city schools for a month. Police Department calls and their billing time skyrockets. School administrators return the district to stability by a) requiring see- through bags and b) adding a day to the school year for every day missed due to bomb threats. (NY, May 1999)
Dickinson - A gun goes off in a school bathroom and injures a student in the neck. The handgun was being carried around by another student who brought it in his backpack for ?show and tell? purposes. (TX, May 2000)
Santana - Well-intentioned friends pat a student down on Monday morning after he brags over the weekend of becoming a school shooter. He uses the gun and ammunition in his backpack to kill 2 and injure 13 later that morning. (CA, Mar 2001) This type of incident also encompasses Paducah, KY; Conyers, GA; Pearl MS; Springfield, OR; Edinboro and Williamsport, PA, and others.
Columbine - Two students ?come in shooting? as part of a pre-planned mass-murder plot. They kill 13, injure dozens, and finally commit suicide inside the school. (CO, Apr 1999)
Jonesboro - Two students pull the fire alarm and catch fellow classmates in the crossfire as they exit the school. One teacher and four students are killed. (AR, Mar 1998) This type also includes Granite Hills/El Cajon (Mar 2001) and Detroit, MI (Feb 2001).
As you can see, the first four types of incidents can be prevented or minimized by having see- through backpacks. Hard-target kids in the Columbine and Jonesboro scenarios are more difficult to curtail, and require a greater ?basket? of solutions to reduce the number of incidents. Fortunately, the number of hard-target kids is very small !
For more information about ways to minimize school violence, see our Eight Things Parents and Schools Can Do Right Now To Enhance School Security.