Highest number of school shootings to date reported in 2020–21 while cyberbullying rates doubled in over a decade
WASHINGTON, June 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — There were a total of 93 school shootings with casualties at public and private elementary and secondary schools during the 2020–21 school year, more than in any other year since data collection began, according to the Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2021. The annual report released today by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), within the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), also shows that cyberbullying in public schools increased to 16 percent in 2019–20, versus 8 percent in 2009–10.
“Although the rate of nonfatal violent victimization at school for 12- to 18-year-olds was lower in 2019 than in 2009, there were more school shootings with casualties in 2021 than in any other year since data collection began in the early 2000’s, increasing from 11 in 2009 to 93 in 2021,” said NCES Commissioner Peggy G. Carr. “While the lasting impact of these crime and safety issues cannot be measured in statistics alone, these data are valuable to the efforts of our policymakers, school officials, and community members to identify and implement preventive and responsive measures.”
In the 2020–21 school year, the total of school shooting casualties included 43 school shootings with deaths and 50 school shootings with injuries only. According to the report, school shootings are defined as incidents in which a gun is brandished or fired on school property. During the coronavirus pandemic, “school shootings” also included those that happened on school property during remote instruction.
The incidence of several discipline issues at public schools declined in the decade between the 2009–10 and 2019–20 school years, with lower prevalence of student bullying (15 vs. 23 percent), student sexual harassment of other students (2 vs. 3 percent), and student harassment of other students based on sexual orientation or gender identity (2 vs. 3 percent). In higher education, the rate of criminal incidents on campus declined in that time from 23 per 10,000 full-time-equivalent students to 18.7. The rate of forcible sex offenses on campus increased during that decade from 1.7 per 10,000 students in 2009–10 to 8 per 10,000 students in 2019–20.
The Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2021, which is developed in a joint effort with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), examines topics such as school shootings, criminal victimization, bullying, disciplinary problems and actions, fights, weapons, availability and student use of drugs and alcohol, student perceptions of personal safety at school, the presence of security staff at school, and criminal incidents at postsecondary institutions. This report is a synthesis of key findings from individual school crime and safety indicators, which can be browsed in The Condition of Education Indicator System online. The Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2021 is a compilation of statistical information collected and assembled from other statistical products. For more information on the data sources, please visit https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/sources.
NCES plans on releasing new data from the upcoming School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), the primary source of school-level data on crime and safety for the U.S. Department of Education, which includes a nationally representative cross-sectional survey of about 4,800 public elementary and secondary schools. The survey is scheduled to be released this July 2022.
The full report can be viewed at https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2022092.
- Between 2009 and 2019, the total victimization rate at school decreased from 51 to 30 victimizations per 1,000 students. From 2019 to 2020, the total victimization rate at school continued to decline to 11 victimizations per 1,000—an annual decrease of more than 60 percent in the first year of the pandemic.
- Lower percentages of public schools in 2019–20 than in 2009–10 reported that each of the following discipline problems occurred at least once a week: student bullying (15 vs. 23 percent), student sexual harassment of other students (2 vs. 3 percent), and student harassment of other students based on sexual orientation or gender identity (2 vs. 3 percent).
- However, the percentage of public schools that reported cyberbullying was roughly double in 2019–20 compared with 2009–10 (16 vs. 8 percent).
- In the 2019–20 school year, about 52 percent of public schools reported having a written plan for procedures to be performed in the event of a pandemic disease. This percentage was higher than the percentage reported in 2017–18 (46 percent).
- About 55 percent of public schools (45,600 schools) reported providing diagnostic mental health assessment services to evaluate students for mental health disorders.
- Forty-two percent of public schools (35,200 schools) offered mental health treatment services to students for mental health disorders.
- Between 2009 and 2019, the rate of criminal incidents on college campuses decreased from 23.0 to 18.7 incidents per 10,000 full-time-equivalent students. However, the rate of reported forcible sex offenses on campus increased from 1.7 incidents per 10,000 students in 2009 to 8.0 incidents per 10,000 students in 2019.
- In 2019, a total of 757 hate crimes were reported on the campuses of postsecondary institutions. More than half of hate crimes at postsecondary institutions were motivated by race or ethnicity.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, is the statistical center of the U.S. Department of Education and the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations. NCES, located within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), fulfills a congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report complete statistics on the condition of American education; conduct and publish reports; and review and report on education activities internationally.
The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is the independent and nonpartisan statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education. Its mission is to provide scientific evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and to share this information in formats that are useful and accessible to educators, parents, policymakers, researchers, and the public.
Josh Delarosa, National Center for Education Statistics, [email protected]
James Elias, Hager Sharp, [email protected]
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SOURCE National Center for Education Statistics