Study: High-Achieving Males Often Target of School Violence

An international study finds that the students most likely to be victims of school violence are high-achieving males. Furthermore, schools that fail to provide equal opportunities to students are more likely to have higher incidences of school violence, according to a Dec. 17 press release from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
The study by Motoko Akiba, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy analysis at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU), examined the prevalence of school violence at the eighth-grade level in 36 nations.
The research found that the U.S. ranked 16th, behind such countries as Canada, Australia, Greece, and Spain, in terms of the percentage of students who became victims or were threatened by violence during the previous year.
Although there has been a decline in violent crime in schools, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice said school bullying and weapon-related threats have increased.
In looking at the characteristics of the victims, Akiba found that most were boys and that language, parental education, and academic aspirations were not factors. However, the research showed that the U.S. was one of only six countries where the majority of school violence victims had high academic-achievement levels.
"While the No Child Left Behind Act may be encouraging safe schools for the 21st Century, the focus now is too much on the individual and not on the school environment," said Akiba. "There are more exclusionary prevention programs rather than inclusion programs which are driving a dangerous wedge between the low and high achievers."
A portion of the study is published in the
American Education Research Journal.