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School Violence: Data & Statistics

The first step in preventing school violence is to understand the extent and nature of the problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Justice gather and analyze data from a variety of sources to gain a more complete understanding of school violence.

According to the CDC's School Associated Violent Death Study, between 1% and 2% of all homicides among school-age children happen on school grounds or on the way to and from school or during a school sponsored event. So the vast majority of students will never experience lethal violence at school.1

Fact Sheets

Data Sources

  • School Associated Violent Death Study
    CDC has been collecting data on school-associated violent deaths since 1992. This data system, which was developed in partnership with the Departments of Education and Justice, monitors school-associated violent deaths at the national level. Information is collected from media databases, police, and school officials. A case is defined as a fatal injury (e.g., homicide or suicide) that occurs (1) on school property; (2) on the way to/from school; or (3) during or on the way to/from a school sponsored event. Only violent deaths associated with U.S. elementary and secondary schools, public and private, are included.  Data obtained from this study play an important role in monitoring and assessing national trends in school-associated violent deaths, and help to inform efforts to prevent fatal school violence.
  • Indicators of School Crime and Safety
    The U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice publish a report on school crime and student safety each year. The report provides the most recent data available from many independent sources, including findings from national surveys of students, teachers, and principals. The report covers topics such as victimization, teacher injury, bullying, school conditions, fights, weapons, and student use of drugs and alcohol. The indicators of crime and safety are compared across different population subgroups and over time. Data on crimes that occur away from school are also offered as a point of comparison where available.
  • School Health Policies and Programs Study
    The School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS) is the largest, most comprehensive assessment of school health policies and programs. It is conducted at state, district, school, and four classroom levels across the country. The CDC-sponsored study provides data to help improve school health policies and programs. SHPPS was conducted every six years from 1994 until 2006. The most recent studies were collected in 2012 (state and district levels only) and 2014 (school and classroom levels only). The study assesses eight components of school health programs at the elementary, middle/junior, and senior high school levels that are related to adolescent risk behaviors, including violence. These components are health education; physical education; health services; mental health and social services; school policy and environment; food services; faculty and staff health promotion; and family and community involvement.
  • Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System
    CDC monitors risk behaviors, such as violence, that contribute to the leading causes of death among youth in the United States. CDC administers a nationwide survey every two years in public and private high schools so investigators can examine behaviors related to fighting, weapon carrying, bullying, dating and sexual violence, and suicide.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School-associated student homicides—United States, 1992–2006. MMWR 2008;57(02):33–36.

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