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Hate crimes are on the rise at schools, and it's only getting worse for LGBTQ+ students

School Bully LGBTQ Hate Crime
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New FBI data reflects the growing number of hate crimes in the U.S., while highlighting the role that schools play in combating such incidents.

Hate crimes have been going up across the board, but a new FBI report is shining a light on the setting that's seen a particularly alarming rise in violence in recent years — schools and college campuses.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation findings, released Monday, show that elementary, secondary, and university campuses accounted for 10 percent of all hate crimes documented in 2022. They were also the third most common site of reported incidents between 2018 and 2022, after homes and roads.

In the same period, the most common victims of hate crime offenses at schools were Black and African American students. The second most common targets were Jewish students, followed by LGBTQ+ students as the third most-victimized group.

There were 700 offenses in 2018, compared to 1,336 in 2022. The most common offense was intimidation, followed by destruction and vandalism, and assault, with an average of 4.1 incidents per day. When compared to other juvenile hate crime statistics, more than "30 percent of juvenile victims of hate crime experienced the offense at school, and nearly 36 percent of juvenile offenders of hate crime committed the offense at school," the report states.

The data reflects the growing number of hate crimes in the United States, particularly against the LGBTQ+ community, while highlighting the role that educational institutions play in such incidents.

The latest FBI annual crime report, released in October, found that anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes in the United States jumped by 19 percent in 2022 compared to the previous year. Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement at the time that the data "serves as another alarming indicator of the state of emergency our community finds itself in."

"The rise in hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community is both shocking and heartbreaking, yet sadly, not unexpected," she said. "The constant stream of hostile rhetoric from fringe anti-equality figures, alongside the relentless passage of discriminatory bills, particularly those targeting transgender individuals, in state legislatures, created an environment where it was sadly foreseeable that individuals with violent tendencies might respond to this rhetoric."

The FBI's report on hate crimes in schools noted that "participation in the data collection is voluntary for most agencies," and is only mandatory for federal agencies. Robinson continued to say in her October statement that "too many cities and states are reporting incomplete data, or even no data at all, on hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community." To put and end to the violence, all institutions must be dedicated to reporting incidents — including schools.

"If we’re going to bring a stop to that violence, we need a full accounting of just how many hate crimes are taking place – and that requires every jurisdiction stepping up," she said.

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.