School Violence, Hate Crimes Surged Before COVID-19

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Photo by Peeter Jontes via Flickr

A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that sexual assaults, physical attacks, and other hostile behaviors in schools rose significantly in several school years prior to the pandemic, reports Education Week.

Hate crimes, in particular, which frequently involve students targeted based on their race, national origin, or sexual orientation, increased by an estimated 81 percent in K-12 public schools between the 2015-16 and 2017-18 school years.

Meanwhile, the number of assaults with a weapon nearly doubled during that same time frame and an estimated 20 percent of students in middle and high schools were bullied in school in recent years. Long-term data indicates that school climate and safety has improved significantly compared to a few decades ago, but the rate of students who reported fearing harm at school increased slightly from 2015 to 2017 after several years of decline.

The reported spike in hostile behaviors, based on a GAO survey of 4,800 school principals and other administrators, doesn’t tell us anything about the last few school years affected by COVID.

Additional Reading: 2020 Saw Highest Number of Hate Crimes in 20 Years.

How School Violence ‘Madness’ Robs Students of Help

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