Students in classroom 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
There was a significant decline in almost every category of violence in schools
between the 2009/10 and 2010/11 academic years, the Education Ministry said on
The ministry based its statement on questionnaires filled out by
24,625 pupils in grades 4 to 11 in the Jewish and Arab state school systems over
the past two years. The poll did not include students in haredi schools, special
education facilities or the Arab schools of east Jerusalem.
questionnaires focused on a number of types of violence and other threats facing
students (including drug and alcohol use) to compile a multi-year frame of
comparison. Examined were serious and moderate physical violence, social
violence, sexual violence, violence by and against faculty, violence on school
buses, and the use of weapons in schools, among others.
improvement was among elementary and junior high students, while among high
school students the figures remained relatively stable over the test
In 2010/11, 14% of children in grades 4 through 6 witnessed or
were involved in an act of serious violence, a decrease of 26% from a year
earlier. During that same period, 8% of those in grades 7 through 9 reported
seeing or being involved in such violence, a drop of 27%. The figure stayed the
same, however, for 10th- to 11th-grade students, 8% of whom said they were
involved in or witnessed such violence.
In addition, the proportion of
4th- to 6th-grade pupils who said they witnessed or were involved in an act of
sexual violence dropped 29%, from 14% to 10%, and among 7th- to 9th-grade
students it dropped from 20% to 16%, a 20% decrease. Among 10thto 11th-grade
students, however, the number stayed more or less the same, with 16% reporting
they were involved in such acts during the 2010/11 academic year, as opposed to
18% in a year earlier.
As for violence directed toward teachers, there
was a 40% drop in this among 4th- to 6th-grade pupils (from 10% to 6%), a 29%
drop among 7th- to 9thgrade students (from 14% to 10%) and a 19% drop among
10th- to 11th-grade students (from 16% to 13%).
There was also a
significant reduction in the proportion of students who said they have consumed
beer or hard liquor. The improvement was most stark among 4th- to 5th-graders,
9% of whom said they had drank hard liquor, a 36% decrease from the 14% the year
The Education Ministry credited the positive figures to a number
of programs launched in recent years.
These include NIS 10 million
budgeted in 2009 toward violence prevention in schools, the strengthening of
penalties for students involved in violent acts, and the continued expansion of
the City without Violence program across the country.
When presenting the
numbers in Tel Aviv, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) said, “We know that
Israel is a violent society, we see it on the streets, we see it on the news.
The schools are not separate from this reality but we are investing a great deal
in fighting this phenomenon.”
Sa’ar said that while there is reason to be
pleased with the figures released on Tuesday, “there is no cause for
celebration, the path is still long.”