School shootings have high profile but occur infrequently
March 25, 1998
Web posted at: 11:01 p.m. EST (0401 GMT)
(CNN) -- While there have been several school shootings in the news this school year, they are still relatively rare, according to recent Department of Education statistics.
In a report issued in March, the department reports that 10 percent of public schools reported one or more serious violent crimes during the 1996-97 school year. The figure was 8 percent for rural schools such as the middle school in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
Serious violent crimes include murder, rape, sexual battery, suicide, an attack with a weapon or robbery. (Table 1)
Attacks with weapons accounted for almost 11,000 incidents in public schools during the 1996-97 school year. There were no figures available for the number that resulted in death though the department says murders "are believed to have a very low incidence." (Table 2)
Not surprisingly, public middle schools reported fewer incidents of crime than high schools but more incidents than elementary schools. (Table 3)
Overall, homicide ranks as a leading cause of death among young people, accounting for 20 percent of all deaths in the 10-24 age group, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Table 4)