IESP Working Paper #01-13
Inequality in educational outcomes is a frequent topic of policy debate. This paper investigates one potential source of educational inequality – school safety. With panel survey data of middle school students, this paper estimates racial gaps in student feelings of safety in the classroom, in the hallways, and outside the school building, and how frequently students miss school due to safety concerns. The results identify gaps in feelings of safety between black students, Hispanic students, and their white and Asian peers, even within the same schools and homerooms. Multilevel modeling and decomposition analyses are used to identify key contextual characteristics of schools – school disorder, discipline and security policies, and racial and ethnic tension – that relate to racial and ethnic inequality in feelings of safety.