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Schools and Crime

Sources Of Information About School Crime, The Victims, The Perpetrators, The Causes Of School Crime

Most school crime, like crime outside the school, is nonviolent. Teachers and students report thefts of money and valuables from unattended desks; student lockers are broken into; teachers' pocketbooks are snatched; bicycles are stolen. Other nonviolent offenses include such acts by students as using and selling drugs, drinking alcoholic beverages, defacing walls and desks, and setting minor fires in wastebaskets and toilet bowls. Violations of rules specific to schools also occur: walking the corridors without a pass, cursing a teacher, cutting a class, and truanting.

Less frequent but more disturbing offenses are violent crimes: assaults, robberies, and, occasionally, rapes and murders. Violent offenses create anxiety in students and teachers out of proportion to their frequency. They are unusual in private, parochial, and rural schools but occur with greater frequency in suburban schools, the secondary schools of small cities, and the junior and senior high schools of large cities. Some secondary schools in large cities have so much violent crime that students and teachers regard the schools as war zones. Students sometime claim that they stay away from such schools out of fear, and teachers refer to some of their nominal sick-day absences as "mental health" days. In addition to encountering violence inside school buildings, students, teachers, and other school employees are vulnerable to violence traveling to and from school, in parking lots, and in school-yards.


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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal Law