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About School Violence

group of teenagers at school

School violence is a subset of youth violence. Acts of violence can disrupt the learning process and have a negative effect on students, the school itself, and the broader community.

Examples of violent behavior include:
  • Bullying
  • Fighting (e.g., punching, slapping, kicking)
  • Weapon use
  • Cyberbullying
  • Gang violence
Where 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

Data & Statistics

The first step in preventing school violence is to understand the extent and nature of the problem. 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 CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS):

  • Nearly 24% of students had been in a physical fight on school property one or more times during the 12 months before the survey.
  • Nationwide, about 7% of students had not gone to school at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey because they felt they would be unsafe at school or on their way to or from school.

Fact Sheets

Data Sources

  • School Associated Violent Death Study (SAVD)
    This data system, developed in partnership with the Departments of Education and Justice, monitors at the national level school-associated violent deaths, common features of these events, and potential risk factor for perpetration and victimization.
  • Indicators of School Crime and Safety
    This annual report, published by the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice, provides the most recent data available on school crime and student safety. It covers topics such as victimization, teacher injury, bullying, school conditions, fights, weapons, and student use of drugs and alcohol.
  • School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS)
    SHPPS is a national survey conducted periodically to assess school health policies and programs at the state, district, school, and classroom levels.
  • Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)
    YRBSS monitors health behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth in the United States among 9th through 12th grade students.
  • Kann, L., McManus, T., Harris, W. A., et al., Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2015. MMWR Surveill Summ 2016; 65 (No.6)