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Total school crime and theft rates in 2004 fell to 55 incidents from 73 per 1,000 students in the previous year, according to "Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2006," published by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice.
But the homicide rate has worsened this decade, climbing to 21 during the 2004-2005 school year from 11 during the 2000-2001 school year, according to the December report.
Still, the latest homicide figure is below the number of homicides in most years during the 1990s, the report notes.
At the same time, the percentage of public schools that reported one or more violent incidents grew to 81% during the 2003-2004 school year from 71% during the 1999-2000 school year, with middle schools reporting incident rates nearly twice as high as primary and high schools, according to the report
Meanwhile, during the 2003-2004 school year, about 46% percent of public schools imposed a serious disciplinary action on at least one student, with suspensions of five days or longer accounting for 74% of those actions, according to the report.