Violence in the Schools

August 13, 1976

Report Outline
Classroom Crime and Vandalism
Changed Concepts of Juvenile Rights
Action to Make Schools More Secure
Special Focus

Classroom Crime and Vandalism

Increase in Offenses Committed by Students

The public image of innocent schoolchildren carrying apples to the teacher has given way to that of gangs of juveniles brandishing switchblades in the halls. School violence has become such a serious national problem, according to a study done for the Justice Department's Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, that it should be fought from the federal level. In the words of the School Public Relations Association: “It is a problem that is elusive; a costly problem that involves fear of physical harm and emotional public demands for safer schools, and worst of all, a problem that so far defies solution.”

Last year, according to the National Education Association, American schoolchildren committed 100 murders, 12,000 armed robberies, 9,000 rapes and 204,000 aggravated assaults against teachers and other students. The annual cost of vandalism to schools is almost $600-million—an amount equal to that spent on textbooks in 1972—according to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee to Investigate Delinquency. In June 1975, the subcommittee heard teachers and administrators from around the country detail incidents of vandalism and violence in their schools.

A teacher from Atlanta said an eighth-grade boy had blackened her eye. Others told of gang warfare, stabbings, thefts, assaults, destruction of school facilities, and in one case, the killing of elementary school pets. The past few years have seen violence and vandalism become an almost daily occurrence on school grounds, “Amy Hittner, a San Francisco teacher”, testified. “… I have seen females beaten and severely scratched by other females, males beaten, stabbed, shot and one murdered in the school. Rarely is a fight between persons of the opposite sex.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Violence in Schools
Feb. 15, 2008  Discipline in Schools
Feb. 04, 2005  Bullying
Jan. 09, 2004  Hazing
Mar. 10, 2000  Zero Tolerance for School Violence
Oct. 09, 1998  School Violence
Sep. 11, 1992  Violence in Schools
Aug. 13, 1976  Violence in the Schools
Elementary and Secondary Education
Juvenile Justice
Students and Social Life