Federal report finds steady rise in hate crimes at schools

Holmes Lybrand, CNN | 1/29/2024, 11:25 a.m.
In a first-of-its-kind report released Monday, the Department of Justice found hate crimes at schools have steadily risen since 2020 …
The Department of Justice found that hate crimes at schools have steadily risen since 2020. Mandatory Credit: Jetta Productions/Digital Vision/Getty Images

In a first-of-its-kind report released Monday, the Department of Justice found hate crimes at schools have steadily risen since 2020 and schools were the third most common location for reported hate crimes to occur in the US.

The number of hate crimes at schools more than doubled from 500 in 2020 to more than 1,300 in 2022, according to the report.

While the most common place for a victim to experience a hate crime was on the street or in a home during that time, 10% of hate crimes happened at school locations in 2022, the final year for which data was analyzed.

The report, spanning 2018 to 2022, found a total of more than 4,300 hate crimes were reported in schools over five years, with the largest number of alleged offenses being motivated by anti-Black bias.

“From 2018 through 2022, the most common bias type of reported hate crime offenses at schools was Anti-Black or African American, with 1,690 reported hate crime offenses involving this bias type during the observed five years, followed by Anti-Jewish (745 offenses), and Anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender (Mixed Group) (342 offenses),” the report states.

“The most frequently reported offenses were Intimidation, Destruction/Damage/Vandalism, and Simple Assault,” according to the report released by the FBI – part of the Department of Justice.

It’s the first time the FBI and Justice Department have released a comprehensive look at hate crime occurrences at elementary schools, secondary schools and universities. It was created with data from the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System, which was fully implemented by the bureau in 2021 to improve how reported crime is measured and estimated by the federal government.

The report aims to provide a deeper understanding of hate crime incidence so that law enforcement and school administrations can work to “mitigate or prevent” future hate crimes at school, the report said.

During the five-year period studied, more than 30% of juvenile hate crime victims experienced the offense at school, the report said. In each of those years, most of the reported hate crimes happened at elementary or secondary schools, rather than at colleges or universities.

While the report found an increase in reported hate crimes at schools from 2018 to 2019, it also noted a significant dip in 2020, which could be attributed to schools halting in-person learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.