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Exploring the Major Forms of Victimization Experienced by Students in Schools

Victimization in schools encompasses many forms and remains a serious issue that impacts student well-being and the learning environment. This essay seeks to discuss three primary types of victimization experienced in schools according to the chapter – school shootings, acts of delinquency and crime, as well as bullying. It will outline the essential details about each type of victimization as provided in the textbook, including prevalence, common forms, and impacts. Exploring these significant categories can help better understand the problem’s nature and why addressing all types of victimization through comprehensive prevention programs is vital for creating safe, supportive schools where students can thrive.

While school shootings are uncommon statistically compared to other threats faced by youth, these incidents should not be underestimated in their devastation. While occurring infrequently relative to the large number of schools in the US, these mass casualty events have tragically increased in recent decades. From 2000 to 2018, over 230 school shootings took place, which resulted in more than 350 deaths – shattering lives and communities (Vigderman & Turner, 2019). Even if a small proportion of annual deaths among schoolchildren, a single school shooting can terrorize an entire population, given the vulnerable setting and victims involved. Beyond the immediate loss of life, school shootings also carry immense psychological impacts both for those present and on a broader societal scale as they undermine the expected safety of classrooms. Significant media coverage of high-profile cases serves to heighten fears while families regularly struggle with lasting trauma. Therefore, while uncommon when viewed statistically, school shootings deserve unmitigated concern and prevention efforts due to their severe consequences in loss of life as well as long-term emotional aftermath.

Delinquent behaviors among students in school encompass a broad spectrum of criminal acts, from relatively minor transgressions to more serious offenses. These can include anything from threatening language to physical assaults. Most public schools experienced some level of criminal activity during the 2019-2020 school year. Specifically, around three-quarters (77%) of public schools recorded at least one crime over the year. There were approximately 1.4 million separate criminal incidents across all public schools. In perspective, the crime rate is around 29 incidents for every 1000 students enrolled across the public school system (NCES, 2022). So, while most schools saw crime, the rate of actual incidents was relatively low on a per-student basis. Such a high rate of criminal activity concentrated in school settings understandably undermines feelings of safety and well-being. It also hinders the academic mission of schools. If nearly 1 million offenses were occurring annually that disrupted classrooms and traumatized youth, it is clear administrators must address in-school violence. They can address such through prevention programs, a top priority to cultivate an environment more conducive to student success.

Bullying is another widespread issue that negatively impacts students in schools. Bullying involves repeatedly aggressive and harmful behavior, whether physically or verbally, directed at a victim. It can take multiple forms, such as social exclusion, cyberbullying, physical aggression, and verbal insults (Lab & Lab, 2023). Studies show that roughly one-third of students report experiencing bullying victimization while at school. The most commonly reported type of bullying is being made fun of, insulted, or called names. Bullying not only affects students’ immediate well-being but can also have lasting psychological and emotional consequences.

In conclusion, schools must understand and address these different types of victimization to create safe and supportive learning environments. By implementing effective prevention programs, schools can work to reduce incidents of students being victimized. This promotes positive school climates and fosters overall student wellness. Addressing these issues is vital for schools and their goal of cultivating the health and development of their student population.


Lab, S., & Lab, S. P. (2023). Crime prevention: Approaches, practices, and evaluations (10th ed.). Routledge.

NCES. (2022). COE – criminal incidents recorded by public schools and those reported to sworn law enforcement.

Vigderman, A., & Turner, G. (2019, May 31). A timeline of school shootings since Columbine.


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