Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Violence and Schools

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The recent shootings and violence in schools might give parents the impression that schools are more dangerous than ever before, although a report by the Bureau of Justice and Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics suggests students are twice as likely to be victims of serious violence away from schools. More murders occur at home than at school and actually, the violent crime victimization rate at school declined from 1992 to 2003.

The report is not all good news - in fact, violence, theft, bullying, drug use, and weapons are still problems in schools, particularly urban schools. Some of the specific results include:
? in the 2002 - 2003 school year, there were 15 student homicides and 8 suicides in the nation's schools (< 1 per million students);
? in 2003, 21% of students reported that street gangs were present at their school during the previous six months;
? in 2003, 5% of students ages 12 to 18 reported being victimized (4% had something stolen and 1% were victims of a violent crime) at school during the previous six months;
? in 2003 13% of students reported being in a fight on school property, although 33% of high school students reported having been in a fight during the previous year; and
? in 2003 students in urban schools were twice as likely as students in rural or suburban schools to fear being attacked at school or on the way to and from school.

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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