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What Do the Data Reveal About Violence in Schools?

NCJ Number
NIJ Journal Volume: 282 Dated: 2020
Date Published
November 2020
9 pages
Publication Series

This NIJ article presents findings from multiple, federally funded surveys and data collection initiatives that provide a more comprehensive picture of current trends in school violence.


Although the levels of overall violence in U.S. schools have been declining since 1992, the popular perception of school violence is shaped by the school shootings that seem to grow in number each year. Indeed, incidents of multiple-victim youth homicides in schools have been increasing since 2009. In an effort to better track and understand these divergent trends in school violence, the National Institute of Justice and other federal agencies are funding multiple surveys and data collection initiatives that can provide a more comprehensive picture of violence in schools. This NIJ Journal article describes those ongoing data collection efforts, explains the trends that they have shown (such as decreases in physical bullying and threats to students), and provides insight into their methodologies. The article also highlights the limitations and gaps in the current data, underlining the rationale behind a new, NIJ-funded school shooting database that is designed to help answer why school shootings are increasing despite the general trend toward less school violence.

Date Published: November 1, 2020