In: Krug E, Dahlberg LL, Mercy JA, Zwi AB, Lozano R, eds. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2002:1–56. As teachers, parents and students prepare and begin this new school year, hopefully fears of school violence such as the Columbine shootings will not be their major concern.What is sad is that school violence needs to be a concern at all.

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Fortunately, this usually involves a small group of people fighting amongst themselves. Since the 1992-3 school year, 270 violent deaths have occurred at schools across the nation according to The National School Safety Center's Report on School Associated Violent Deaths.

In a recently completed study of the Class of 2000, CBS News found that 96% of students said they felt safe in school. The majority of these deaths, 207, were shooting victims.

However, 22% of those same students said that they knew students who regularly carried weapons to school. However, the number of deaths in the 1999-2000 school year was almost one quarter the number that occurred in 1992-3.

This does not mean that students did not fear a school violence incident like Columbine. Though those numbers seem encouraging, most people would agree that any statistical data of this nature is unacceptable. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics(NCES).

53% said that a school shooting could happen in their own school. Further, most school violence does not result in death. This organization commissioned a survey of Principals in 1,234 regular public elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the 1996-7 school year. Remember when reading these statistics that 43% of public schools reported no crimes and 90% had no serious violent crimes.

Taking that into consideration, however, we have to admit that violence and crime does exist, and is not necessarily rare, in the school setting.

When teachers, students, and law enforcement officials were asked about their feelings about school violence in the Metropolitan Life Survey of the American Teacher: 1999, they revealed that their overall perceptions were that violence was decreasing.

However, when asked about their personal experiences, one-quarter of the students reported having been a victim of a violent crime in or around the school.

More scary yet, one in eight students had at some time carried a weapon to school.

Both of these statistics were an increase from the previous survey conducted in 1993.

We must fight against this complacency without overreacting.