It seems like common sense: Students who feel unsafe at school stay home. That basic premise may underlie the link between poor school climate and lower student achievement, according to a
Mathematica researchers analyzed data on school safety, engagement, and climate for more than 340,000 students in more than 700 New York City middle schools from a survey taken annually from 2007 to 2010. They found student reports of violence at school were more strongly associated with school reports of bullying and fighting than with gang activity or alcohol use. Students who felt less safe missed more days of school. Only 3 percent of students who reported feeling safe at school reported staying home “most or all of the time,” versus 15 percent of students who reported feeling unsafe.
A version of this article appeared in the November 02, 2016 edition of Education Week as School Climate