Study: Violence, Bullying Down in U.S. Public Schools

The study also found that both violent occurrences and bullying happen more often in middle schools than in high schools or elementary schools.

Study: Violence, Bullying Down in U.S. Public Schools

Approximately 22 percent of middle school principals reported that bullying occurs daily or at least once a week.

A federal report published on Thursday indicates that the occurrences of violent attacks and bullying have gone down in American public schools.

The survey, released by the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, included findings from the 2015-2016 school year.

The study found that violence and bullying are more frequent in middle schools than in high schools or elementary schools.

The new report found that the rate of violent incidents in middle schools dropped from 40 incidents per 1,000 students in the 2009-2010 school year to 27 incidents. There were 16 reported incidents in high schools and 15 reported incidents in elementary schools.

In 2009-2010, 46 percent of schools reported that students were threatened without a weapon while 8 percent were threatened with a weapon, compared to 39 percent and 9 percent respectively during the 2015-2016 school year.

About 22 percent of middle schools reported that bullying occurs daily or at least once a week, compared to 15 percent of high schools and 8 percent of elementary schools.

The study also found a significant difference in violence and bullying based on the size of enrollment and location.

Of schools with a student enrollment of over 1,000, 27 percent reported cyberbullying among students daily or at least once a week. Comparatively, only 8 percent of schools with enrollments under 300 reported cyberbullying.

Only 36 percent of schools located in cities reported that one or more sworn law enforcement officers regularly carried a firearm while at school, compared to 57 percent of schools located in towns and 45 percent of schools located in suburbs.

Substance abuse, which is also part of the questionnaire, has remained unchanged since the 2009-2010 school year, according to ABC News.

The survey is the only recurring federal survey that collects detailed information on the incidence, frequency, seriousness and nature of violence affecting both students and school personnel.

It collects its data from a questionnaire given to a random sample of about 3,500 public school principals at the end of a school year. It has been conducted six times since the 1999-2000 school year.

About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Senior Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy’s mother, brother, sister-in-law and a handful of cousins are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

In her free time, Amy enjoys exploring the outdoors with her husband, her son and her dog.

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