Crime and Safety in U.S. Public Schools

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published a First Look report on crime, violence, discipline, and safety in U.S. public schools.
This report can be downloaded from It presents findings from the 2015–16 School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS:2016).

  • A higher percentage of middle schools reported that student bullying occurred at school daily or at least once a week (22  percent) than did high schools (15 percent) or primary schools (8 percent);
  • About 36 percent of schools located in cities reported that one or more sworn law enforcement officers routinely carried a  firearm while at school during the 2015-16 school year. That was lower than the percent reported at schools in towns (57  percent) and suburbs (45 percent).

SSOCS was first administered in school year 1999–2000 and repeated in school years 2003–04, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10, and 2015–16. The next wave of data collection is planned for school year 2017–18. Principals from a nationally representative stratified random sample of 3,553 U.S. public schools received a SSOCS 2016 questionnaire, which was designed to collect data on crime and safety from the schools’ perspective. To learn more about SSOCS, visit

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