NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Schools Are Less Violent, But Students Are Scared

April 11, 2000

Statistics show schools are still among the safest places for children. But communities and schools across the U.S. are becoming immersed in an ever-widening range of programs aimed at warding off school violence, say observers.

  • About 97 percent of the nation's 15,000 school districts get some of the $500 million the Education Department budgets for anti-violence programs -- with about 59 percent of school districts receiving less than $10,000.
  • Justice Department statistics show a rise over the past several years in the percentage of students who fear being attacked at school -- although school crime has decreased in the past five years.
  • Furthermore, there is only a million-to-one chance of a student being a homicide victim.
  • And 90 percent of schools don't have any serious violent crime.

Few of the anti-violence programs have been evaluated, and experts question their effectiveness. Bill Mozeleski, director of the Department of Education's Safe and Drug Free Schools program, says the anti-violence fervor is part of a "culture of fad-ism" out of sync with an actual decline in school violence.

Source: Tamara Henry, "Scared at School," USA Today, April 11, 2000.


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