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About School Violence

In the United States, an estimated 50 million students are enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Another 15 million students attend colleges and universities across the country. While U.S. schools remain relatively safe, any amount of violence is unacceptable. Parents, teachers, and administrators expect schools to be safe havens of learning. Acts of violence can disrupt the learning process and have a negative effect on students, the school itself, and the broader community.

2013 Understanding School Violence Fact Sheet [PDF 250KB]

School violence is youth violence that occurs on school property, on the way to or from school or school-sponsored events, or during a school-sponsored event.

What is School Violence?

School violence is a subset of youth violence, a broader public health problem. Violence is the intentional use of physical force or power, against another person, group, or community, with the behavior likely to cause physical or psychological harm. Youth Violence typically includes persons between the ages of 10 and 24, although pathways to youth violence can begin in early childhood.

Examples of violent behavior include:

  • Bullying
  • Fighting (e.g., punching, slapping, kicking)
  • Weapon use
  • Electronic aggression
  • Gang violence

School violence occurs:

  • On school property
  • On the way to or from school
  • During a school-sponsored event
  • On the way to or from a school-sponsored event

Percentage of High School Students theatened or injured with a weapon on school property, Male: 7.7, Female: 6.1, Total: 6.9

Data Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey Overview. Available from URL: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/yrbs/pdf/us_overview_yrbs.pdf [PDF 219KB].


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