Education

Research Report: School Safety

July 14, 2004 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Tracking the Numbers

Is school violence on the rise?

Kenneth S. Trump, the outspoken president of the Cleveland consulting firm National School Safety and Security Services, says he can look at the past school year and conclude yes.

Mr. Trump made headlines last month when his company released data pegging the number of school-related violent deaths in 2003-04 at 48—more than in the past two school years combined and the deadliest since before the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, according to Mr. Trump’s data.

William Modzeleski, the associate deputy undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Education’s office of safe and drug-free schools, called Mr. Trump’s tally “a good jumping-off point,” but he also dismissed the list as “basically a LexisNexis search.”

The federal government “has a very rigorous vetting process for getting these numbers—you can’t just pull these things off a newspaper stand,” Mr. Modzeleski said.

But the problem is that the 1998-99 school year is the most recent for which the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Education can offer final school-death tallies. After that, the agencies have released only preliminary figures up through the 2002-03 school year.

“There’s a lag because it’s a costly, time-consuming process if you want a good number,” Mr. Modzeleski said.

For instance, he pointed out that the government goes beyond newspaper accounts to official sources such as schools, police, and coroners. And it uses a narrow definition for school-related violence, he said, that some of Mr. Trump’s incidents wouldn’t meet—including at least 12 incidents that involved people over the age of 19.

Mr. Trump, however, contends that he uses the same definition for school-related crime as the federal government. He includes violence by or against students or anyone else that happens on school property, on the way to or from school, or while traveling to or attending a school-related event. He said his data are collected using multiple sources, including print and electronic news reports, professional contacts, and other national sources.

Still, his Web site includes a disclaimer that the school-death data are neither exhaustive nor scientific.

Darcia Harris Bowman

A version of this article appeared in the July 14, 2004 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Letter to the Editor EdWeek's Most-Read Letters of 2022
Here are this year’s top five Letters to the Editor.
1 min read
Education Week opinion letters submissions
Gwen Keraval for Education Week
Education In Their Own Words Withstanding Trauma, Leading With Honesty, and More: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our journalists highlight why stories on the impact of trauma on schooling and the fallout of the political discourse on race matter to the field.
4 min read
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
Billy Calzada/The San Antonio Express-News via AP
Education In Their Own Words Masking, Miscarriages, and Mental Health: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our reporters share the stories they wrote that rose above the fray—and why.
5 min read
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Allison V. Smith for Education Week
Education Opinion The Top 10 Rick Hess Straight Up Columns of 2022
NAEP, pre-K, who decides what gets taught. Those are among the most popular or impactful posts of the year.
2 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty