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Thursday, 26 March, 1998, 15:03 GMT
Tide of violence at US schools
stretcher
One example of a deadly trend
The fatal shootings at an Arkansas school are the latest example of a trend of deadly violence faced by many American schools.

A recent US Education Department study released showed one in 10 schools were scenes of serious violence, including rape and armed assault in the 1996-1997 school year.

One in 10 schools reports violent crime
One in 10 schools reports violent crime
The study, based on 1,200 public schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia, recorded 11,000 armed assaults and 4,000 rapes or cases of sexual assault in schools last year.

Violence in schools has become one of the United States' most high profile problems.

Attacks at schools have received huge amounts of media attention in recent years and prompted the formation of national and local grassroots organisations.

In 1994, the US Congress passed the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, which provides for support of drug and violence prevention programs.

"With drugs, gangs and guns on the rise in many communities the threat of violence weighs heavily on most principals' minds these days," said Michael Durso, principal of a high school in the suburbs of Washington DC.

"Anyone who thinks they are not vulnerable is really na´ve."

According to the report, violence appears to be more common in large schools. One-third of the facilities with more than 1,000 students reported at least one incident of serious violence, compared to just four to nine percent of schools with fewer than 1,000 students.

But the study pointed out that fear has exaggerated the phenomenon of school violence.

It showed that 43 percent of public schools did not report a single incident of violence in 1997 and that the majority of them experienced fewer than five.

The study "shows clearly that the majority of our schools are safe," said President Clinton when the report was released.

"It also shows, however, that too many of our children face a far more frightening reality every time they walk to the schoolhouse door," he added.

See also:

25 Mar 98 | Americas
25 Mar 98 | US shooting
25 Mar 98 | US shooting
25 Mar 98 | US shooting
26 Mar 98 | US shooting
Links to more US shooting stories are at the foot of the page.


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