Violence in Public Schools: Keeping Kids Safe

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School safety is a top priority for teachers. Photo by Kaelcarp

We assume that school is a safe place for parents to send their children; one of the roles of the school staff is to ensure a safe environment in which students can learn.

Although violence in schools often takes over the news cycle, for many children, their classroom at school is a safe haven from the home environment. The National Center for Education Statistics published a report in 2011 looking at crime and safety in schools from 2009-2010.

Their statistical findings represent over 3000 randomly sampled U.S. Public schools.

Violence in Schools: Student Age Makes a Difference

Of the schools that participated in the study, more violent incidents occurred in middle school than either elementary schools or high schools. This disparity was not a minor statistical difference, either, with 40 violent incidents per 1,000 students in middle school compared with only 21 incidents per 1,000 students for elementary schools and again only 21 incidents per 1,000 students for high schools. Not surprisingly, city schools were more likely than both suburban and rural schools to have higher incident rate as well.

The study likewise found that 39 percent of middle schools also reported a high incidence of student bullying – as often as daily in some cases but at least once a week. Both elementary schools and high schools reported only a 20% rate of bullying on a daily or weekly basis.

Bullying can be a huge motivator for students to respond violently, with one 2003 study showing that students who had been bullied are more likely to consider violence to be a solution to their problems. This leads to the reasoning that if bullying could be more effectively prevented in middle schools, the rate of violent incidents would likewise decline.

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