NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A recent study examining the safest states for high school students ranked Tennessee as one of the least safe in the nation.
The report from Scholaroo, a scholarship search platform, measured the safety of high school students in each state based on a number of crime and safety indicators, such as the percentage of students that carried a weapon onto school property.
Each metric was given a corresponding weight, which was then used to determine each state’s weighted average and overall score. The number of incidences of gunfire on school grounds within the last 10 years was a major factor in Tennessee’s low ranking.
According to the study, Tennessee is among the worst states for school shootings, ranking in at number 44. The only states with more school shootings reported in the last 10 years were Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, California, Georgia and Texas.
The report also showed that high school students in the Volunteer State have a higher exposure to illegal drugs than most states based on the percentage of students that were offered, sold or given an illegal substance on school property.
Compared to the rest of the nation, Tennessee was ranked among the 10 worst states for exposure to illegal drugs.
The state ranked higher when it came to other crime and safety metrics, but still not in the top 10. For instance, Tennessee was ranked 34th in the nation for incidences of bullying in high schools and 41st for cyberbullying.
Although it carried less weight in the state’s overall ranking, Tennessee was about average when it came to the percentage of high school students who said they feel safe at school. Scholaroo’s study ranked Tennessee 29th in that aspect.
The study put Tennessee among the top 15 states with statutes and regulations related to school resource officers and their required certification and training requirements. And while incidences of gunfire were high, fewer Tennessee students reported being threatened with a weapon or engaging in a physical fight on school property.
While Tennessee was in the bottom 10 for overall high school safety at number 44, Georgia was the worst, followed by Louisiana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. As for the safest states for high school students, Washington came in at number one, followed by Delaware and Kentucky.
Kentucky had high marks for school safety plans and statutes requiring schools to adopt emergency response plans, as well as a low number of reports of physical fights and weapons found at schools. To view the full study, click here.