How dangerous was your high school?

In terms of student violence, how dangerous was your high school? If so what city and time period?

Did you have to join a gang for protection?

Did you ever bring a weapon to school for protection?

Atlanta. Early to mid 90s.

It was pretty safe. We didn’t have metal detectors or armed security guards. There was the occasional lunch room fight, but nothing that required ambulances or news reporters. There was no gang presence. And no, I never felt the need to bring a weapon to school.

New York, Queens, late '60s. One fist fight in the careteria, a shooting in the hall, but not bad for over 3000 kids. Never felt at risk.

Rich suburb, San Francisco East Bay, 1970’s. Safer than safe. No gangs, no hazing, no violence or vandalism to speak of.

First two years: lower middle-class suburb, late '70’s, security guards (I think unarmed, but they were big), no metal detectors, no shootings, but relatively frequent fights.

Last two years: middle-class suburb, early '80’s, nothing and I think I can remember one fight.

Not at all. Like monstro’s school, we’d have a fist fight every now and then, (I got in one with my best friend my freshman year) but that’s about it. I remember asking one of my teachers if there had ever been an instance of someone being caught with a gun and he said once and the student had been expelled. There were a little over a thousand kids in our school, and about 200-some in my graduating class. Any “hazing” was just seniors having freshmen carrying their trays back up at lunch during spirit week. Any bullying was just your cliquey type. There was the, “I am so going to kick your ass, bitch”, but I never saw it happen. (I had two girls threaten me, but they turned out to be all talk) I don’t think there even were any gangs to speak of.

This would have been in the early-mid 90s. Pittsburgh, PA, your average, middle class surburbs.

Early 1980s in a lily-white Connecticut suburb. Very safe. Never heard anything about gangs. There were only one or two instances of very minor vandalism. We were stuck on campus for lunch, though. Even if you had a car, the nearest restaurant/sandwich shop/fast food shop/supermarket/etc was too far to go there and get back during the lunch break. And almost everyone rode the bus unlike today, where it seems that many parents are driving their kids to and from school. (Also, they actually cooked the food for school lunches in the cafeteria, while today it seems like many school districts prepare food in a central kitchen.)

Shingle Springs, CA in the mid-80’s. Mostly a rural area. Some kids lived as far as 15-20 miles from school, but some kids lived in newer subdivisions more nearby. I lived about 12 miles from the school on acreage.

I think I remember one or two fist fights, but nothing that required more than a teacher yelling at them to break it up. No gangs or anything like that. Probably rattlesnakes were the most dangerous thing.

No. Graduated 1956. Farm town, central Wisconsin.

I doubt if I ever went to school (even grade school) without a jackknife in my pocket. In high school, my dad bought a switchblade to keep in his fishing tackle box (when doing something important like fishing, you don’t always have both hands free.) I carried that to school for a few weeks (and showed it to everybody), but the long blade made it cumbersome in my pocket, so I went back to my regular boy scout knife. Nobody thought anything of it, every boy carried a jackknife, none were ever used as weapons, but occasionally some smart ass would get his out and wave it around threateningly, but everyone just laughed. We kept fishing gear in our lockers, and if the art teacher sent us out to sketch, we’d draw for a few minutes, then fish. If we caught anything, we put it in the sink in the back of the art room.

Yes, there were kids that we would call bullies, but I never heard of anyone being physically harmed. The two most dreaded phrases in those days were “I’ll have to report this to your parents” and “Just wait till your father gets home”.

Los Angeles late 90s. I never felt unsafe personally. That said i knew members of the Bloods and a couple other gangs you probably don’t know, but our school was firmly in Bloods territory. I witnessed at least two people having overdose reactions in the public quad and ambulances showing up. One member of my graduating class died due to gang violence that he was not involved in. And there was an all out mini gang war on campus during one of my winter breaks several people were killed. (year round school with 3 tracks. Each track got 2 six week breaks a year so there were never all three tracks in school at once.)

Shortly after I graduated the federal government took over the administration for a couple of years.

I was in the magnet program and was largely, but not totally, insulated from this stuff.

There were several curbs you could step off of incorrectly and get a serious sprain.

Flint, MI. Mid to late '90s. I was only one of about five white kids at the school. At times I felt unsafe but mostly I just kept to myself. I never joined a gang and never carried a weapon.

Class of '74, Skyline High School, Idaho Falls, Idaho (pop. 45k). Perfectly safe place to be. Most of us Idaho kids carried pocket knives to school, and I’m sure there were some pickup trucks in the parking lot with .22 rifles in the ubiquitous gun racks in the rear windows. I never heard of anyone getting shot or even shot at – the idea of using the guns we all owned against our fellow humans never entered our heads. The population was about 50% Mormon. There were no gangs, but there was a large group of stoners who liked to play up the lifestyle so no one would mistake them for Mormons.
Our class schedules were set up more like college classes, and it was an open campus so we could come and go as we pleased. The fact that so many of us just left campus when we weren’t in class might have contributed to the peaceful scene. We simply weren’t there much of the time.

Rockville, MD, 1981-85

No trouble at all. 60 students in a state-funded school. My graduating class was six.

Why no trouble? It was a segregation school for kids with legal, drug and other issues that had been ‘removed’ from the public school system. About half of us lived there. The ones that could handle it got to live at home.

Once there? Locked doors, large - unarmed - men for security in every hall, county police maintained a two-officer presence in the lobby and the truly hardcore were medicated by on-site nurses each morning. Class size was about 4-6 in each class. Gym was held in what was non-euphemistically called ‘the cage’.

So yeah, no trouble. It was simply not allowed to occur. At the slightest hint the offender would be placed in isolation for several hours.

Chicago suburb 1964 - 1968

Not dangerous at all.

'90s. Middle-class suburb. not really dangerous apart from the normal danger of packing a bunch of asshole teenagers into one building. Only “gang” I was aware of was a handful of idiot white kids who thought they were “gangsta” because they listened to rap music and could pretend to sound black.

man, am I glad that nonsense is far behind me.

High school in suburban Los Angeles, 1969-1972. Race riots between white students and black students were an annual event. They usually resulted in school closures, and generally came in the week preceding the Christmas or spring vacations. I don’t recall any gangs, just rage between black and white students. This simmered all year, in isolated fights. There were restrooms on campus I never entered for my entire time in high school, because of the risk for black on white violence. Once or twice a year, it would explode into a riot involving 40-50 people, resulting in some serious injuries, but no fatalities.

Early to mid-60s in Anchorage, AK in a school with about 2,000 kids. Zero problems other than the usual occasional bullying or one-on-one fistfights after school.

Good to know that not much changed in LA high schools between 1972 and 2000.

Suburb north of Detroit, end of 70’s/beginning of 80’s. Fist-fights we didn’t keep much track of, but there were a couple of knifings on school property. One classmate rendered quadriplegic due to gun accident, couple other kids involved in shootings but not on school grounds. Never joined a gang. Did carry a knife of my own sometimes.