Spotlight on School Crime and Safety

Father and son in front of a school bus

Educators, parents, and communities want their schools to be safe havens for teaching and learning, free of crime and violence.

Recent surveys identify specific types of crime and safety incidents and how frequently they occur at primary, middle and high schools. These reports also track how incidents are handled and those involved are disciplined.

In addition, a flagship annual report for the U.S. Department of Education examines the 23 indicators of school crime and safety in the U.S. Bullying prevention work takes a look at what schools and communities are doing and what programs are showing positive results in schools.

Explore these selected reports, tools and informational graphics to learn more about the research and evaluation, information synthesis, resource development, and technical assistance regarding school crime and safety.

Key Resources

Research on Lowering Violence in Communities and Schools (ReSOLV)

A comprehensive approach to school safety requires a focus on the root causes within the school and larger community setting. In support of the National Institute of Justice's Comprehensive School Safety Initiative, AIR—in partnership with Virginia Tech, The Wandersman Group, and a group of nationally recognized school safety experts—is conducting Research on Lowering Violence in Communities and Schools (ReSOLV).

Crime, Violence, Discipline, and Safety in U.S. Public Schools: Findings from the School Survey on Crime and Safety

These reports present key findings on crime and violence in U.S. public schools, using data from the School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS). First administered in the spring of the 1999–2000 school year, SSOCS provides information about school crime-related topics from the school’s perspective. Read the 2017 report.

Indicators of School Crime and Safety

Since 2000, AIR has maintained lead authorship of this flagship 23-indicator report co-sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics. It is the U.S. Department of Education’s only annual publication on the status and trends of crime and safety in U.S. schools.

According to data from the 2016 report, in 2015, about 15 percent of U.S. fourth-graders and 7 percent of U.S. eighth-graders reported experiencing bullying at least once a month:

In 2015, about 15 percent of U.S. fourth-graders and 7 percent of U.S. eighth-graders reported experiencing bullying at least once a month. These percentages were lower than the international averages of 16 and 8 percent

Spotlight on Bullying Prevention

As more is being learned about the negative psychological and physical effects of bullying, researchers are focusing on how to address the problem. The research and resources featured here relate to efforts to prevent violence in schools and help young people feel safe and supported.

Crime and Safety at School Infographic Series

Which states see the most firearm possession incidents at public elementary and secondary schools? Has the number of bullying incidents increased or decreased in the past 15 years? Are schools prepared to address violent incidents in the event of a school shooting? How has crime on college campuses changed since 2001? We answer those questions here—with some surprising results. For example:

Infographic shows the percentage of Violent Incidents Reported at Public Schools

Safe Place to Learn Resource Kit

The Safe Place to Learn resource package, developed by AIR's National Center for Safe Supportive Learning Environments, provides a range of materials to support school efforts to prevent and eliminate peer-to-peer sexual harassment and sexual violence. This resource package supports school district and school staff efforts to comply with Title IX sex discrimination prohibitions and create a positive school climate.