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Survey Suggests Most U.S. Teens Find Violence, Weapons in Schools

More than three-quarters of American teenagers believe that threats of violence against students are a problem in their schools, according to a survey commissioned by Camp Fire Boys and Girls.

Of the 546 students nationally who responded to the written survey, released last month, 78 percent said threats of violence are a problem, and more than 53 percent believe their schools have problems with students carrying weapons.

Twenty percent of the 13- to-19-year-olds reported witnessing confrontations in school involving a knife; 7 percent said they had seen an encounter involving a gun.

Most teenagers--83 percent of those surveyed--said they had seen students engaged in fistfights in school, and 55 percent had seen students destroying school property.

Ninety percent of the respondents said drugs were the primary reason for teenage violence, followed by abuse by parents (83 percent) and gang involvement (80 percent.)

Nonwhite students (87 percent) and those who lived in large cities (85 percent) were more likely than whites (77 percent) and those living in communities of under 100,000 people (74 percent) to attribute violence to gang-related activity, the survey found.

Seven out of 10 teenagers surveyed said that their schools had a problem with students selling drugs. Nonwhite teenagers were twice as likely as white ones to say that drug sales by students were a major problem in their schools.


Schools that are not part of the national asbestos class action and who have claims against the National Gypsum Company are required to file damage claims by July 1.

A federal bankruptcy court in Dallas, which is overseeing the company's bankruptcy filing, recently ruled that school districts and any other entities that may have property-damage claims against National Gypsum must file a proof-of-claim form by this summer. Copies of the form are available by writing the company, 501 Cedar Springs Rd., Suite 700, Dallas, Tex., 75201-1433.

About 1,500 of the nation's 36,000 public and private schools have opted out of the national class action, which was filed in federal court in 1983 and has not yet gone to trial.

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