Published Online: November 1, 2000
Published in Print: November 1, 2000, as Federal File

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Safer Schools



The number of violent crimes on school grounds has dropped, according to a Department of Education report issued last week.

For More Information

The report "Safe Schools/Healthy Students" is available from the U.S. Department of Education.(Requires Adobe's Acrobat Reader.)

The third annual "Safe Schools/Healthy Students" study reported that there were 34 crime-related deaths in the nation's public schools in the 1998-99 school year, down from a high of 49 such deaths in 1995-96.

Drawn from information reported by students and principals, the study also found that students were twice as likely to be victims of serious violent crimes when they were not at school. In the 1997-98 school year, 253,000 students ages 12 to 18 were victims of serious crimes such as rape or robbery at school, compared with 550,000 in that age group who were victims of those crimes off school grounds.

And the percentage of young people who were victims of violent crime at school dropped from 10 percent in 1995 to 8 percent last year, the report says.


Drug Control

Almost 7,000 of the 9 million students who applied to receive federal financial aid for college this fall were affected by a new provision that denies or delays such aid to students convicted of drug offenses.

The rule—which took effect this year—was adopted when Congress reauthorized the Higher Education Act in 1998.

According to Education Department statistics, 1,311 applicants have been ruled ineligible for aid.

Another 5,617 applicants must complete a waiting period before they become eligible for federal support. The length of the waiting period hinges on a student's drug-conviction record.

Students can regain eligibility by completing a drug-rehabilitation program or winning a reversal of the conviction.

Joe Aiello, a department spokesman, said about 275,000 students failed to answer a question about drug convictions on their financial-aid forms. Next year, the question will appear in bold type and the form will remind students not to skip the question.

—Jessica Portner & John Gehring

Vol. 20, Issue 9, Page 25

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