School Violence Statistics

This article gives an overview of school violence statistics in the United States, including school shootings, fighting at school, bullying, and other forms of violence. Keep reading for more information on school violence statistics, and how they may affect you.

School shootings receive a great deal of media attention, and many parents are concerned about their children’s safety at school. In reality, school violence statistics show that few students are killed at school, though every instance of a school shooting is a tragedy that affects entire communities and even the rest of the nation and the world. Students are much more likely, however, to be the victims of other types of school violence that are not fatal, but can have lasting negative effects on students and their educational experience. Even non-physical forms of teen violence like bullying can have serious consequences. The government tracks incidents of school violence and reports them in the Indicators of School Crime and Safety reports, where most of these figures came from.

Violent crimes at school

Serious violent crimes at school hit a peak in the 1990s, when a series of school shootings and copycat shootings claimed the lives of a relatively large number of students. In the 2006-2007 school year there were 27 homicides and 8 suicides that took place at school. These school violence statistics equals one death at school for every 1.6 million students.

In the same time period, however, there were 1.7 million nonfatal crimes committed at school, ranging from assault to theft. These school violence statistics show 46 crimes per 1,000 students. School violence statistics show that 86% of schools reported violence or thefts taking place.

These incidents are not distributed evenly among schools. School violence statistics show that while 46% of schools reported 20 or more violent acts, 1% of schools only had one or two violent incidents, and 22% of schools reported no violent crimes at all.

Schools with higher incidents of teen violence are more likely to be in urban areas, where gang violence is more of a problem. 23% of students reported gang problems at their schools, though the ethnic breakdown of the students reporting problems indicate that inner city areas have more gang problems than suburban or rural areas.

School violence statistics show percentages of students who reported gang problems at their school, by ethnic group:

  • 16% of white students
  • 17% of Asian students
  • 36% of Hispanic students
  • 38% of black students

Overall, 12% of high school students were involved in fights at school in the 2006-2007 school year. Additionally, 5% of 12-18 year olds were afraid of being harmed at school, and 7% had avoided a school activity to avoid being harmed.

Weapons at school

Weapons are banned from schools, especially guns, and their presence tends to increase the seriousness of violent incidents. School violence statistics show boys are twice as likely to be threatened or injured at school with a weapon, and are two to three times more likely to bring a weapon to school. About 10% of boys brought a weapon to school, and roughly the same number were threatened or injured by a weapon at school. Blacks and Hispanics were slightly more likely to be threatened or injured with a weapon at school.


Bullying, which can have serious psychological effects on both the bully and his or her victims, seems to be increasing among students, though this could be the result of increased reporting of bullying.

Bullying can include:

  • Mocking
  • Spreading mean rumors
  • Name calling
  • Spitting
  • Pushing
  • Tripping
  • Threats
  • Deliberate exclusion
  • Destruction of belongings
  • Being forced to do something the victim does not want to do

Because many students have cell phones and other mobile communication devices with them at school, cyber bullying is also a problem at schools.

School violence statistics show that middle schools have the highest rates of both bullying and sexual harassment. 21% of elementary schools, 43% of middle schools, and 22% of high schools reported ongoing bullying problems in 2005-2006.

About one-third of students age 12 and up are the victims of school bullyingl. 10% of 12-18 year olds were called hate terms at school, and 35% saw hate-related graffiti at school.

Violence against teachers

Violence against teachers is also a serious problem at some schools, especially those in urban areas. Elementary school teachers are actually more likely to be attacked by students than middle or high school teachers.

  • About 10% of urban teachers are threatened with violence, versus 5 to 6% of suburban and rural teachers. 
  • Overall, 8% percent of secondary school teachers are threatened by their students, and 6% of elementary school teachers. 
  • About 2% of secondary school teachers are actually attacked, however, versus 4% of elementary school teachers. 
  • Public school teachers are much more likely to be threatened (5 times more) or attacked (4 times more) than private school teachers.


National Center for Education Statistics, "Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2008" [online]

Youth Violence Project - National Statistics, "Violence in Schools" [online]

Related Article: Youth Violence Statistics >>