Black students are most common targets as school hate crimes double

While the FBI report doesn't contain any data from 2023, campus tension from the Israel-Hamas corroborates evidence that hate crimes are rising in higher ed.

Schools trailed only homes and roads as the most common locations for reported hate crimes over a five-year period that includes the pandemic, newly-released statistics show.

Higher education and K12 accounted for 10% of the hate crimes reported nationally from 2018 to 2022, according to the FBI study, which also looked at the ethnicity and religion of the victims. These offenses are also increasingly common in K12, doubling from just under 400 reports in 2018 to 890 in 2022 despite closures in many districts earlier in the pandemic.

Overall, about 4,300 hate crimes were reported in schools between 2018 and 2022, compared to more than 15,000 at homes and residences and close to 9,000 on roads, highways and alleys, the FBI found.

Who are the victims?

Black students were by far the most common targets of school hate crimes, followed by members of the LGBTQ community and Jewish students. These are the most common victims broken down by race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity:

  • Black students: 1,690
  • LGBTQ community: 786
  • Jewish students: 745
  • Anti-gay (male): 306
  • Hispanic or Latino students: 183
  • Asian students: 105

More from UB: Superintendent: Why bridging the K12-higher ed gap is vital to student equity

What kinds of hate crimes stood out?

Verbal intimidation was the most common type of hate crime, followed by vandalism and “simple assault,” according to the FBI, which also looked at the age of victims and offenders and found adults are also regular targets. Incidents of vandalism or destruction combined for over 3,000 between 2018 and 2022.

Juvelines accounted for 1,729 and adults, 1,401, of the victims. But when it comes to the offenders, juveniles were three times more likely than adults to commit hate crimes, at a rate of more than 2,100 to around 700.

Over the five years analyzed, hate crimes were more common at the beginning of the school year (1,500) than at the end (920).

Colleges currently grappling with consequences

While the FBI report doesn’t contain any data from 2023, campus tension from the Israel-Hamas corroborates evidence that hate crimes are rising in higher ed. Antisemitic incidents have exploded by nearly 400% since the war’s outbreak in October. Pressure on higher education to protect its Jewish students has gained investment from federal lawmakers and the broader community.

But hate crimes since the war are not limited to one side. Three Palestinian college students were shot, and investigators are determining if it was a hate crime. One student will most likely be paralyzed from the waist down, The New York Times reports.

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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