February 15, 2001

Findings taken from student surveys of The Metropolitan Life Survey of The American Teacher, conducted in 1993 and 1999 by Harris Interactive, address the issue of violence in America’s public schools.

Some findings include:

One-quarter of students have been the victim of a violent act that occurred in or around school (23%, 1993; 24%, 1999) – Boys were more likely than girls to be a victim of school violence (31% vs. 18%).

Fifteen percent of students were very worried about being physically attacked in or around their school.

Three in ten students (30%) were very concerned about school shootings happening in their school.

One-quarter of students in grades 7–12 (26%) were very concerned about students at their school having easy access to handguns and other firearms.

One in eight students in grades 3-12 have carried a weapon to school (13%, 1993; 12%, 1999) – Boys were more likely than girls to have carried a weapon to school (17% vs. 7%); nearly two in ten students in grades 7–12 have carried a weapon to school (18%, 1993; 17%, 1999).

In 1999, students in grades 7–12 reported that 5% (median) of students at their school regularly carried weapons such as handguns or knives to school.

Nearly half of students said that it was easy for students at their school to get access to handguns or other firearms (47%).

Despite these findings, nine in ten (92%) students felt safe when they were at school. This included more than half (56%) who felt very safe when they were at school – an increase from 1993 (50%) – Boys and girls were equally likely to report that they felt very safe in school (56% vs. 57%).

Unless otherwise indicated, survey results refer to 1999 findings.


These findings are based on interviews with a nationally representative sample of public school students in grades 3 through 12 (1993, N=1000; 1999, N=1044). Interviews were conducted using a self-administered questionnaire between September 21, 1998 and November 30, 1998 (1999 survey) and between September 22, 1993 and October 5, 1993 (1993 survey).

For more information at http://www.harrisinteractive.com.

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