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Reporting School Violence

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2002
8 pages
Publication Series
In this bulletin, an overview of recently enacted State laws addressing violence in United States schools is presented, particularly those laws concerning the collection of data and the reporting of school violence incidents and current issues related to the reporting of school violence.
In 1996, 255,000 children were victims of school violence. Addressing the high-profile concern for America's children, the National Education Goals was established in 1994 under congressional legislation. One of the goals stated that by the year 2000 all schools in the United States would be free of drugs and violence, the unauthorized presence of firearms and weapons, and offer a school environment conducive to learning. To reach this goal, States have enacted various laws targeted at resolving the many crime issues in our schools. To address the full extent of current school crime, the compilation of up-to-date and reliable statistical information must be addressed. This report reviews State laws that have been developed to ensure timely and accurate reporting of school-based crime. Previous research shows that about half of the States collect some type of school crime statistics with several States having passed laws requiring the reporting of crimes and/or violent incidents to meet the requirements to receive Federal funding under the 1994 Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. Annual school crime reports are presented to legislatures in numerous States. In addition, several States have passed laws that require school officials to report at least certain types of offenses to local police authorities, such as acts of intimidation, attacks on school personnel, terroristic threats, deadly conduct, and possession of weapons, and several States have incorporated enforcement mechanisms into these reporting laws. With States mandating that schools report crime to law enforcement agencies, law enforcement agencies have also been mandated to report the arrests or convictions of school employees or the adjudication of a registered student to school officials. Safeguards must also be put into place to ensure compliance with school reporting mandates, such as improvements to statistical reporting, school crime hotlines, and enforcement reporting laws. In order to make schools safer and violence free, the first step must be taken, the enacting of strong, concise school violence reporting laws.

Date Published: January 1, 2002