The Value of Small Schools in Missouri
National research shows that:
1) Small schools are more likely to be safe, nurturing environments
research in a national context:
Missouri-specific research in a national context:
< Since 1995, Missouri has taken several steps in an effort to curb violence in its schools, including passage of the Missouri Safe Schools Act, funding of Safe School grants, and creation of the Missouri Center for Safe Schools and Missouri School Violence Hotline. These initiatives have clearly had an impact on school safety in the state.
< In a public opinion survey conducted by the Missouri Highway Patrol in 2002 citizens ranked crime as the highest concern (64%) and drug use as their fourth highest concern (42%)
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education data show that:
< One-fifth of Missouri 10th graders (21%) admit they have carried a weapon to school—10% within 30 days of being surveyed. 33% said they had used marijuana at least once; 7% say someone has threatened or injured them on school property within the last year.
< 28% of 11th graders said they have been in a fight in the last year. 43% of 11th graders have used marijuana at least once in their life.
< 18% of seniors said someone had stolen or deliberately damaged their property at school.
Data reported by the Missouri Department of Public Safety from DESE and other sources points out that:
< The proportion of Missouri high school seniors who used marijuana in the 30 days prior to the survey increased from 10% in 1991 to 15% in 1993, then increased to 21% in 1995, to a high of 35% in 1997, and declined to 25% in 1999 and 13% in 2000.
< Cocaine use among Missouri high school seniors in the 30 days prior to the survey remained at 2% from 1991 to 1993. In 1997, the proportion raised significantly to 7%, and in 1999, it decreased substantially to 2%. In 2000, the proportion further decreased to 1%.
< In 2000, 10.8% of Missouri high school seniors reported having used methamphetamines one or more times in their life.
< Rural Missouri is certainly not devoid of drug production or drug use, as Missouri continues to lead the country since 2001 in meth lab seizures.
Drug survey data in Missouri are not available by size or rurality of school, however, National Center for Education Statistics data show that:
< In the 1999–2000 school year, the size of a school’s student enrollment was related to the prevalence of both violent and serious violent incidents. That is, as enrollment size increased, schools were more likely to report one or more violent or serious violent incidents.
< Rural schools (12%) are less likely than schools in cities (27%), urban fringe areas (22%), or towns (20%) to experience a serious violent incident.
These findings are corroborated in Missouri through disciplinary data provided to DESE through CORE DATA reports for 2002 that show:
< Only 1413 of the 12,348 disciplinary incidents reported (11%) occurred in Missouri’s rural schools, as did 15% of weapon incidents, 18% of drug incidents, and 7% of incidents involving violent acts
 A summary of national research on school safety can be found in the MARE document “The Value of Small Schools in Missouri: A Call to Informed Action”, available at
 Missouri Department of Public Safety and Statistical Analysis Center, 2002, Nature and Extent of the Illicit Drug Problem in Missouri. Available at http://www.mshp.dps.missouri.gov/MSHPWeb/SAC/Pubs/OtherPub.html
 Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Safe and Drug Free Schools And Communities Survey, FY 2001-2002. Available at http://www.dese.state.mo.us/divimprove/fedprog/instrucimprov/index.html
 National Center for Education Statistics, Violence in U.S. Public Schools, 2000 School Survey on Crime and Safety. Available at http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2004314