The ripple effects of how – and if – kids are able to commute safely to school | Greater Greater Washington

September 15, 2022
  • D.C. Policy Center
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On September’s, the D.C. Policy Center’s research, What D.C. schools need to do to tackle chronic absenteeism, Proximity to homicide exposure in Washington, D.C., 2021, and State of D.C. Schools, 2020-21, were cited by Greater Greater Washington:

On average, students commute just over two miles to and from school, with about 42% of students leaving their ward. This number varies, however, depending on students’ age and location. Commutes increase, for example, for students in Ward 7 and 8, who travel about three miles. High school students also tend to have longer commutes than younger students, in part because they’re more likely to go to an out-of-boundary school than their elementary school counterparts…

Research by the DC Policy Center found that in 2021 almost 80% of people lived within half a mile of a homicide (which are on the rise in DC) occurring that year. Black residents, however, are 19 percentage points more likely than their white peers to live within that radius.

Unfortunately, that disparity widens for children: 89% of children of color and 57% of white children live within a half mile of a 2021 homicide, with a particularly high concentration East of the Anacostia River. Experiencing this kind of neighborhood violence often means that kids don’t feel safe commuting to school, which can have a serious impact on their mental health and educational outcomes.

“You’re kind of seeing this overlap where a lot of homicides are occurring where a lot of kids live, which contributes to a general feeling of anxiety and your community being affected by these trends,” said Chelsea Coffin, director of the Education Policy Initiative at DC Policy Center.

Read more: The ripple effects of how – and if – kids are able to commute safely to school | Greater Greater Washington

Related: What D.C. schools need to do to tackle chronic absenteeism | D.C. Policy Center

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D.C. Policy Center


Established in 2016, the D.C. Policy Center is a non-partisan research and policy organization committed to advancing policies for a strong and vibrant economy in the District of Columbia. Through rigorous research and collaboration, the D.C. Policy Center develops and tests policy ideas, disseminates its findings, and engages in constructive dialogue and debate.

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