Murders at elementary and high schools, both public and private, fell significantly over the past decade and a half, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
From the academic school years between 1992 and 2006:
The report shows a decline in the rates of single-victim school-associated homicides, while multiple-victim homicide rates, which were much fewer in number, remained stable. Of the last 109 incidents of school-associated student homicides studied, 101 involved only one victim.
According to the CDC, an average of 16.5 students are murdered at school per year. Nevertheless, schools remain one of the safest places for children and teenagers, as “school associated homicides” account for less than 1 percent of all homicides of victims in the same age group.
Most students murdered in or around school find themselves the victim of gunshot wounds (65 percent), while the others are typically stabbed (27 percent) or beaten (12 percent) to death.
Males were also more likely to be murdered than females. High schools in the inner city were the likeliest location for such violence.
To help reduce violence at schools, the report recommended four things. First, school districts should try to reduce crowding, increase supervision, and implement early interventions to stop violence before it occurs. Second, schools need to take threats seriously. Students need to know where they can go if they or one of their friends are ever threatened. Teachers, parents, and mentors need to be encouraged to help troubled students. Third, prevention plans must be in effect to spot bullying and respond effectively to it. Fourth, schools must update their emergency crisis plan and ensure teachers receive training in all aspects of the plan.
“Our goal is to provide health and education officials with useful information that will help them develop and improve school safety,” said Dr. Jeffrey Hall, the study’s lead author. “The most important thing for parents, peers, teachers, and others to remember is that they should tell someone if they suspect or know that a student is having difficulty, being bullied, or even planning something. In many cases, someone knows what is going on and can alert a parent or teacher. This will help save lives.”