15 November 1999

US School Crime Wave

by Kate Melville

New statistics show an alarming trend that 40 percent of violent crimes against children aged 12-19 occurred in or around their school!

A survey of nearly 2,600 public school students by sociologist Kevin Fitzpatrick showed the odds of being victimized by violence was 14 percent higher for third- through sixth-graders who said walking away from a fight was hard. Among seventh- through ninth-graders, the odds increased 18 percent. And students with more negative evaluations of school conditions were victimized more often. According to Fitzpatrick, "Understanding the dynamic of the victimization process and who's at greatest risk is critical to designing effective, age-appropriate violence prevention strategies".

Unfortunately this study also indicates that students who believe they cannot walk away from a fight are more vulnerable. This worrying outcome is perhaps a key factor behind the explosive growth in home schooling in the US.