Hate crimes reported in schools almost doubled between 2018 and 2022

The number of hate crimes reported at schools and universities nearly doubled between 2018 and 2022, according to data released Monday by the FBI.

About 1,300 hate crimes were reported in elementary schools, high schools and universities in 2022, up from 700 in 2018, an increase of about 90 percent, according to the report, the first on the topic issued by the federal government.

African Americans were the most frequent victims, with a total of 1,690 hate crimes against them reported during the five-year period, followed by LGBTQ people with 900 crimes; American Jews ranked third, with 745 reported crimes.

The statistics count crimes against students or other people inside school buildings and on campuses.

Although FBI officials did not offer an explanation for the rising numbers, the country’s education system experienced a high degree of politicization during the period covered by the report.

Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, a national movement drew attention to racism in all facets of American life, including schools, which could have led to an increase in complaints. There was also a powerful backlash against that movement, which could have motivated some hate crimes.

The period covered by the new data ends in 2022; Still, it is of great interest to many educators and policymakers who are analyzing how the war between Israel and Gaza has affected the country’s school systems. Since the conflict began in October 2023, there have been widespread reports of an increase in bias incidents in schools against Jewish, Arab and Muslim students. Organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish group, have called on policymakers to act.

The new report lists a total of 71 anti-Islamic and 32 anti-Arab hate crimes that occurred in schools between 2018 and 2022. There are less American Muslims than American Jews.

In general, many crime experts believe that hate crimes are not reported by victims. And in recent years, some local police departments have not reported their own hate crime data to the FBI, making it likely that the national figures are underestimates of even reported hate crimes.

According to the new report, the most common type of hate crime reported in schools was bullying, which the federal government defines as unlawfully placing another person in fear of bodily harm through the use of threatening words or other actions. Almost as common was vandalism or destruction of property, which can include graffiti with hateful symbols or words. The third most common crime was simple assault, which is a physical assault without a weapon and in which the victim does not suffer serious injuries.

In 2022, at least a third of the country’s historically black colleges received bomb threats, according to the FBI

According to the FBI report, more hate crimes were reported in elementary and secondary schools than in colleges and universities. The number of reported crimes decreased in 2020, during the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, when most schools closed, and then increased significantly, surpassing pre-pandemic numbers in 2022.

Still, children and young adults were more likely to experience hate crimes outside of school than in schools and colleges, according to federal data.

The 90 percent increase in hate crimes in schools appeared to outpace the overall increase in hate crimes nationally during the same period. A total of approximately 13,300 Hate crimes were reported in 2022, compared to 8,500 in 2018an increase of about 60 percent.

Outside of schools, the groups most commonly victimized were the same as in schools: African Americans, LGBTQ people, and Jewish Americans.