School shooting

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A school shooting is an attack at an educational institution, such as a school or university, involving the use of a firearm(s). Incidents that involve four or more deaths are also categorized as mass shootings.[1][2]

According to studies, factors behind school shooting include family dysfunction, lack of family supervision, and mental illness. School shootings have sparked a political debate over gun violence, zero tolerance policies, and gun control.

The United States has the highest number of school-related shootings.[3][4]

Profiling[edit]

General profile[edit]

Data reported by the United States Secret Service and the United States Department of Education in “The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States. A gender/sex variable is not included because 100 percent, 41 individuals, of the attackers were male. Data were collected from 37 incidents with a sample size of n=41 attackers in 26 states between 1997 and 2000. *Academic performance was only available for 34 individuals. **The number of attackers recorded in the mental health variable exceeds the total 41 attackers because individuals were recorded in every profile that applied to them. ***Violent behavior was exhibited in 24 individuals, the number of attackers recorded for this variable exceeds 24 because individuals were recorded in every profile that applied to them.

The United States Secret Service published the results from a study regarding 37 school shooting incidents, involving 41 individuals in the United States from December 1974 through May 2000.[5] In a previous report of 18 school shootings by the FBI, they released a profile that described shooters as middle-class, lonely/alienated, awkward, caucasian males who had access to guns.[6] The most recent report cautioned against the assumption that a perpetrator can be identified by a certain 'type' or profile. The results from the study indicated that perpetrators came from varying backgrounds, making a singular profile difficult when identifying possible assailant.[7][8] For example, some perpetrators were children of divorce, lived in foster homes, or came from intact nuclear families. The majority of individuals had rarely or never gotten into trouble at school and had a healthy social life.[5] Some experts such as Alan Lipman have warned against the dearth of empirical validity of profiling methods.

While it may be simplistic to assume a straightforward "profile", the study did find certain similarities among the perpetrators. "The researchers found that killers do not 'snap'. They plan. They acquire weapons. These children take a long, considered, public path toward violence."[9] Often times, shooters are inspired by past shootings as motivation for the method of executing these attacks from the guns to purchase down to the what to wear during the attack.[10]Princeton's Katherine Newman has found that, far from being "loners", the perpetrators are "joiners" whose attempts at social integration fail, and that they let their thinking and even their plans be known, sometimes frequently over long periods of time. In addition, psychologist Peter Langman has noted that school shooters typically fall into one (or occasionally two) of three categories: psychopathic, psychotic, or traumatized.[11][12]

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released "The School Shooter: A Quick Reference Guide," which is a compilation of information from the Safe School Initiative, School Violence Threat Management, and The School Shooter: A Threat Assessment Perspective. The document includes risk assessments, statistics about attacker background, and warning signs about which investigators should be vigilant.[13] The report lists the 11 Key Questions created by the US Secret Service for threat assessment. The top reported motives of an attack were bullying/persecution/threatened (75%) and revenge (61%), while 54% reported having numerous reasons.[13] The remaining motives included an attempt to solve a problem (34%), suicide or depression (27%), and seeking attention or recognition (24%).[14] Some basic statistics are provided from the Safe School Initiative: 59% of attacks occurred during school hours, in 68% of the incidents the weapon used was obtained from the attacker's home, 93% of the attacks were premeditated, and 95% of shooters were current students.[15][14] The FBI suggest observing behavioral warning signs and mostly encouraging others to report concerning behavior. In 80% of cases, at least one person was aware the assailant was thinking/planning an attack and in almost 2/3, at least two individuals were aware of the attack before it happened.[16] The information included in the document is not meant to be used as a profile, but rather a guide of possible behaviors that an individual might exhibit.

Table 1 displays data reported in the Safe School Initiative program by the US Secret Service and the US Department of Education. The Secret Service and Department of Education began examining pre-attack behaviors after the 1999 Columbine High School attack.[17] The table demonstrates the varying backgrounds of school shooters. More than 3/4 of attackers (76%) were caucasian and 100% (41 individuals) were male. [17] The report documented five types of household environments: 44% of attackers lived with two biological parents, 19% lived with one biological and one step-parent, 19% had one biological parent, 2% had two biological parents in separate households, and 5% lived in foster care or had a legal guardian.[17] The academic performance was available for 83% (34) of the individuals, which ranged from straight As to failing. Almost half of attackers were getting As and Bs (41%) and few attackers were failing.[18] The percentage of attackers recorded for the mental health variable exceeds 100 because individuals were recorded for every profile that applied to them. The largest reported profiles include previous suicidal thoughts/actions (78%), self documentation of depression (61%), and 34% of attackers received previous psychological treatment.[18] More than half (59%) of attackers expressed violent behavior, but there was not one common violent outlet among attackers. The most common violent expression was through personal media (journal, videos, essays, poems etc.) with 37% of attackers exhibiting this behavior.[19] These data were collected from 37 school shootings, committed by 41 individuals, in the US between 1997 and 2000.

Family dysfunction[edit]

An angle that it not mentioned in media but is bolstered by important social scientists is dysfunctional family structure.[20] Eminent Harvard sociologist Robert J. Sampson wrote: “Family structure is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, predictor of variations in urban violence across cities in the U.S.A." His views are echoed by the eminent criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi, who have written that “such family measures as the percentage of the population divorced, the percentage of households headed by women, and the percentage of unattached individuals in the community are among the most powerful predictors of crime rates.”[21] According to Dr. Peter~ Lameman, it is a myth that school shooters come from stable homes, and showed that in one sample, 82% of the shooters were from dysfunctional families, while 18% from intact families.[22] Analyzing the lists of shooters, Carolyn Moynihan of MercatorNet said that "almost all school shooters come from families where the parents are either divorced or alienated".[23] Social scientist Bradford Wilcox also observed nearly all "involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place."[24] Michael Cook argued that "perhaps they wouldn’t need more gun control if they had better divorce control.”[25]

Lack of supervision in the family[edit]

“Studies have found that within offenders’ families, there is frequently a lack of supervision, low emotional closeness, and intimacy”[26]. Often times it seems to be a situation where the action is planned out by the intended person. While the targets can be random or there could be specific people, the attempt is generally not something that the offender does spur of the moment. With the offenders that can be reviewed, it is hard to even study this as a specific case or issue. There is not really a specific trait of issue that can be found. Family circles are all different but seem to come from two parent median households most often and with no records of violence or criminality prior to the event. Yet, they have this fascination or are prone to violent thoughts and actions. The one trait that seems to be prevalent in most of the cases is they can all generally have a form of depression. With this vague of information on the cause people may have for committing these events and not showing specific signs in life prior to the action, it is really hard to put together a mental health plan that can address these issues ahead of time. It may not hurt to have one in place to prevent those that can be predicted, but it will not address the majority of the issue it seems.

Perpetrators who "run amok" in schools and other public settings do also share in common a severe lapse or more pervasive deficit in their capacity for empathy coupled with their inability to contain their aggression—this may be due to their psychopathy, psychotic symptoms (i.e. loss of a sense of reality), and/or to a consequence of significant violent traumatization—such as that of early physical abuse, that contributes to the development of dissociative states of mind (i.e. disavowal of reality, derealization, depersonalization). In short, as clinical psychiatrist Daniel Schechter has written, for a baby to develop into a troubled adolescent who then turns lethally violent, a convergence of multiple interacting factors must occur, that is "every bit as complicated...as it is for a tornado to form on a beautiful spring day in Kansas."[27]

Many of the shooters told Secret Service investigators that alienation or persecution drove them to violence. According to the United States Secret Service,[28]

One "trait" that has not yet attracted as much attention is the gender difference: nearly all school shootings are perpetrated by young males, and in some instances the violence has clearly been gender-specific. Bob Herbert addressed this in an October 2006 New York Times editorial.[29] However, at least three female school shooting incidents have been documented,[30][31] including Laurie Dann of Winnetka, Illinois.

Though the perpetrators of school shootings are often said to be almost exclusively white males, this is misleading. A study of 48 shooters found that though white males constituted 79% of secondary school shooters, white males were actually a minority among college and other adult perpetrators.[32] There is significant racial, ethnic, and gender diversity among school shooters.[33] These shootings have happened in "suburban and rural school districts" and many seem to be random with random targets. Most of these shooters tend to come from two-parent households and have been found to appear on the honor roll at their schools.[34]

School shootings receive extensive media coverage and are frequent in the US (see list below). They have sometimes resulted in nationwide changes of schools' policies concerning discipline and security. Some experts have described fears about school shootings as a type of moral panic.[35]

Such incidents may also lead to nationwide discussion on gun laws.[36]


Younger age[edit]

According to Raine (2002), immaturity is one of many identified factors increasing the likelihood of an individual committing criminal acts of violence and outburts of aggression.[37] This fact is supported by findings on brain development occurring as individuals age from birth.

According to the Australian-based Raising children network and Centre for Adolescent Health (and a number of other sources[38]): the main change occurring in the developing brain during adolescence is the (so-called) pruning of unused connections in thinking and processing, while this is occurring within the brain, retained connections are strengthened. Synaptic pruning occurs because the nervous system in humans develops by firstly, the over-producing of parts of the nervous system, axons, neurons, and synapses, to then later in the development of the nervous system, make redundant the superfluous parts, i.e. pruning (or apoptosis, otherwise known as cell death).[39] These changes occur in certain parts of the brain firstly; the pre-frontal cortex, the brain location where decision-making occurs, is the concluding area for development. While the pre-frontal cortex is developing, children and teenagers might possibly rely more on the brain part known as the amygdala; involving thinking that is more emotionally active, including aggression and impulsiveness. As a consequence each individual is more likely to want to make riskier (i.e. risk) choices (choices which are more risky, or to make more risky choices).[40]

Steinberg (2004[41]) identified the fact of adolescents taking more risks typically, than adults, Deakin et al. (2004), and, Overman et al. (2004) indicate a decline in risk taking from adolescence to adulthood, Steinberg (2005), Figner et al. (2009), and, Burnett et al. (2010) identified adolescent age individuals as more likely to take risks than young-children and adults.[42]

Gun ownership[edit]

Evidence shows the number of deaths by guns in any population correlates to the number of guns owned within the same population.[43]

However, some countries with high numbers of gun owners also have very low gun related deaths, such as Iceland.[44][45]

School bullying[edit]

"Bullying is common in schools and seemed to play a role in the lives of many of the school shooters".[46] A typical bullying interaction consist of three parts, the offender/bully, a victim and one or more bystanders. This formula of three enables the bully to easily create public humiliation for their victim. Students who are bullied tend to develop behavioral problems, depression, less self-control and poorer social skills, and to do worse in school.[47] Once humiliated, victims never want to be a victim again and try to regain their image by joining groups. Often, they are rejected by their peers and follow through by restoring justice in what they see as an unjust situation. Their plan for restoration many times results in violence as shown by the school shooters. 75% of school shooters claimed or left behind evidence of them being victims of bullying, including Nathan Ferris, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Edmar Aparecido Freitas, Brian Head, Seung-Hui Cho, Wellington Menezes Oliveira, Jeff Weise, Adam Lanza, and Nikolas Cruz.

Cyberbullying has changed the effect of bullying in another way. "… in the modern era a bully can also do so on Facebook and Twitter for the world to see. Once something is on the Internet, it cannot truly be removed, further enhancing the torment. That type of bullying is infinitely easier for the perpetrator to commit and just as infinitely hard for the victim to address or escape."[48]

Notoriety[edit]

Shooting massacres in English-speaking countries often occur close together in time.[49] Forensic psychiatrists attribute this to copycat behaviour,[50][51] which can be correlated with the level of media exposure.[52][53] In these copycat shootings, often times the perpetrators see a past school shooter as an idol, so they want to carry out an even more destructive, murderous shooting in hopes of gaining recognition or respect.[54] Some mass murderers study media reports of previous killers.[55]

Research has now shown the presence of a direct correlation between a desire for infamy and school shootings. This hypothesis was suggested by Justin Nutt in 2013, those who feel as though they are alone and who feel no one will remember them may seek to be remembered through acts of violence. Nutt explains through the examination of the way in which news exposure is connected not to the victims, but the perpetrators. "… in an age of internet news and 24 hour news cycle, to avoid doing so would be seen as poor news reporting, but it also means those who feel nameless and as though no one will care or remember them when they are gone may feel doing something such as a school shooting will make sure they are remembered and listed in the history books."[48] This has been linked as a leading cause of most school shootings and planned, but unexecuted school shooting. Recent premedatative writings were presented according to court documents and showed Joshua O'Connor wrote that he wanted the "death count to be as high as possible so that the shooting would be infamous."[56] Infamy and notoriety, "a desire to be remembered" has been reported as the leading reason for planned shootings by most perpetrators who were taken alive either pre or post shooting.

Injustice collectors[edit]

In a 2015 New Republic essay, Columbine author Dave Cullen described a subset of school shooters (and other mass murderers) known as "injustice collectors." The essay described and expanded on the work of retired FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole, who has published a peer-reviewed journal article on the subject.[57] It also quoted Gary Noesner, who helped create and lead the FBI's hostage negotiation unit, and served as Chief Negotiator for ten years.[58]

Mental illness[edit]

The degree to which mental illness does or does not contribute to school shootings has been debated in society.

Although the vast majority of mentally ill individuals are non-violent,[59] some evidence has suggested that mental illness or mental health symptoms are nearly universal among school shooters. For example, on April 16, 2007, a Virginia Tech (VT) student named Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed thirty-two faculty members and students on the campus and injured twenty-five more before taking his own life. For another instance, a 2002 report by the US Secret Service and US Department of Education found evidence that a majority of school shooters displayed evidence of mental health symptoms, often undiagnosed or untreated[60] Criminologists Fox and DeLateur note that mental illness is only part of the issue, however, and mass shooters tend to externalize their problems, blaming others and are unlikely to seek psychiatric help, even if available.[61] Other scholars have concluded that mass murderers display a common constellation of chronic mental health symptoms, chronic anger or antisocial traits, and a tendency to blame others for problems.[62] However, they note that attempting to "profile" school shooters with such a constellation of traits will likely result in many false positives as many individuals with such a profile do not engage in violent behaviors.

McGinty and colleagues conducted a study to find out if people tended to associate the violence of school shootings with mental illness, at the expense of other factors such as the availability of high-capacity magazines.[63] Nearly 2,000 participants read a news piece on a shooting in which the shooter is diagnosed as having a mental illness and who used high capacity magazines. One group read an article that presented only the facts of the case. A different group read an article about the same shooting, but in it the author advocated for gun restrictions for people with mental illness. Another group read about the shooting in an article that suggested the proposal to ban large-capacity magazines, which acted to advocate that shootings could stem from a societal problem rather than an individual problem. The control group did not read anything. Participants were then all asked to fill out a questionnaire asking about their views on gun control and whether they thought there should be restrictions on high-capacity magazines. 71% of the control group thought that gun restrictions should be applied to people with mental illness, and nearly 80% of participants who read the articles agreed. Despite the fact that the article exposed the readers to both the mental illness of the shooter, and the fact that the shooter used high-capacity magazines, participants advocated more for gun restrictions on people with mental illness rather than bans on high-capacity magazines. This suggests that people believe mental illness is the culprit for school shootings in lieu of the accessibility of guns or other environmental factors. The authors expressed concern that proposals to target gun control laws at people with mental illness do not take into account the complex nature of the relationship between serious mental illness and violence, much of which is due to additional factors such as substance abuse. However, the link is unclear since research has shown that violence in mentally ill people occur more in interpersonal environments.[64]

Violent video games[edit]

It has long been debated that there exists a correlation between school shooting perpetrators and the type of media they consume. A popular profile for school shooters is someone who has been exposed to or enjoys playing violent video games. However, this profile is considered by many researchers to be misguided or erroneous. Ferguson (2009) has argued that a third variable of gender explains the illusory correlation between video game use and the type of people who conduct school shootings. Ferguson explains that the majority of school shooters are young males, who are considerably more aggressive than the rest of the population. A majority of gamers are also young males. Thus, it appears likely that the view that school shooters are often people who play violent video game is more simply explained by the third variable of gender.

The idea of profiling school shooters by the video games they play comes from the erroneous belief that playing violent video games increases a person's aggression level, which in turn, can cause people to perpetrate extreme acts of violence, such as a school shooting. There is little to no data supporting this hypothesis (Ferguson, 2009) but it has become a vivid profile used by the media since the Columbine Massacre in 1999.

A summation of past research on video game violence find that video games have little to no effect on aggression (Anderson,2004; Ferguson, 2007 & Spencer, 2009). Again, this supports the idea that although it is a popular opinion to link school shooters to being violent video gamers, this misconception is often attributable to third variables and has not been supported by research on the connection between aggression and gaming.

Ultimately, this type of profiling is popular in media but not supported by any data (Anderson, 2004).

Frequency trends[edit]

Beginning in the late 1990s, there has been a steep increase in the frequency of school shootings across the globe.[65][not in citation given] In the United States specifically, the most recent trend has been downward following the spikes of the 1990s, yet at the same time they are trending towards a higher likelihood of being premeditated and executed with a strict plan in mind.[66]

A study by Northeastern University found that "four times the number of children were killed in schools in the early 1990s than today."[67]

Around the world[edit]

Student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people on Virginia Tech's campus in 2007.

United States[edit]

School shootings are considered an "overwhelmingly American" phenomenon due to the availability of firearms in the United States.[68]

Infamous school shootings that occurred in the United States include the 1966 University of Texas tower shooting, the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, and the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Other school shootings that resulted in multiple casualties occurred at Northern Illinois University in 2008 and Santana High School in 2001, along with Red Lake Senior High School in 2005, Umpqua Community College in 2015, Marshall County High School in 2018, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.

There were 11 firearm-related events that occurred at a school or campus in the first 23 days of 2018.[69]

Studies of United States school shootings[edit]

During 1996, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) together with the US Department of Education and the United States Department of Justice, published a review of deaths related to schools occurring as a result of violence, including explicitly "unintentional firearm-related death", for the academic years 1992-1993 and 1993-1994.[70] A second study (Anderson; Kaufman; Simon 2001), a continuation from the 1996 study, was published December 5, and covered the period 1994-1999.[71]

A 2015 investigation by CNN identified "more than 40 people...charged with Columbine-style plots" since the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and found that almost all were white male teenagers and almost all had studied the Columbine attack or cited the Columbine perpetrators Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold as inspiration.[72]

Cultural references[edit]

Californian punk rock group The Offspring has created two songs about school shootings in the United States. In "Come Out and Play" (1994), the focus is on clashing school gangs,[73] lamenting that "[kids] are getting weapons with the greatest of ease", "It goes down the same as a thousand before / No one's getting smarter / No one's learning the score / A never ending spree of death and violence and hate". In the 2008 song "Hammerhead", a campus gunman thinks he is a soldier in a warzone.[73][74]

Canada[edit]

The following is a list of shooting incidents that have occurred at schools in Canada.

Name Location Date Year Death toll Notes
Markdale School shooting Markdale, Ontario August 25 1884 1 The 28-year-old head teacher, William Norris wounded Fanny Ford, a teacher who had rejected his advances, with three shots. He then fatally shot himself through the head.[75][76][77]
Kingston School shooting Kingston, Ontario April 28 1902 1 Beatrice Holland, a 14-year-old student, is shot and killed by a fellow student at the Frontenac School. The shooter, 15-year-old Eric Sharp, fled the scene but later turned himself in to the police.[78]
Altona schoolhouse shooting Altona, Manitoba October 10 1902 2 Henry J. Toews, a schoolteacher, confronted on the road three school trustees with whom he had some problems, drew a revolver, and shot all of them. Toews then returned to the schoolhouse and shot three female students who were the children of the trustees before turning the gun on himself. One of the students died and the shooter died months later.[79][80]
Ross Sheppard High School shooting Edmonton, Alberta March 16 1959 1 19-year-old Stan Williamson opened fire with a .22 calibre rifle inside a crowded corridor of Ross Sheppard High School, killing 16-year-old Howard Gates and wounding five teenage girls. The shooting ended when three 18-year-old students held the gunman down until he could be arrested by police.[81]
Centennial Secondary School shooting Brampton, Ontario May 28 1975 3 16-year-old gunman Michael Slobodian shot and killed a fellow student and a teacher, and injured 13 other students before turning the gun on himself and committing suicide in a school hallway.[82] Slobodian is the first recorded high-school aged school shooter in the country.
St. Pius X High School shooting Ottawa, Ontario October 27 1975 3 Robert Poulin, an 18-year-old St. Pius student, opened fire on his classmates with a shotgun, killing one and wounding five before turning the gun on himself and committing suicide. Poulin had raped and stabbed his 17-year-old friend Kim Rabot to death prior to the shooting. A book entitled Rape of a Normal Mind was written about the incident.[82]
Sturgeon Creek High School Shooting[83] Winnipeg, Manitoba October 1978 1 A 17-year-old student shot a 16-year-old to death, allegedly for ridiculing the American rock band Kiss[citation needed]. He was arrested and found not guilty of first-degree murder by reason of insanity.[82]
Weston Collegiate Institute Toronto, Ontario 1989 0 The school principal escorted a group of trespassers off school property. They returned an hour later and when confronted by the principal a male (19) shot at him while fleeing the property. No one was injured. A fence around the perimeter was later erected due to this incident.[84]
École Polytechnique massacre Montreal, Quebec December 6 1989 15 25-year-old Marc Lépine, armed with a legally obtained semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife, embarked on a shooting spree throughout the school, killing fourteen women and injuring ten other women and four men before killing himself.[82]
Concordia University massacre Montreal, Quebec August 24 1992 4 Dr. Valery Fabrikant, a 52-year-old former associate professor of mechanical engineering at Concordia, shot and killed four of his ex-colleagues and wounded a fifth before being subdued by two people he took hostage and being arrested by police.[82]
W. R. Myers High School shooting Taber, Alberta April 28 1999 1 A 14-year-old student, Todd Cameron Smith, walked into his school and randomly shot at three students, killing one named Jason Lang and injuring another before being arrested.[85] This shooting took place only eight days after the Columbine High School massacre and is widely believed to have been a copycat crime.
Bramalea Secondary School Brampton, Ontario December 10 2004 1 On December 10, 2004, a gunman shot 47-year-old grade 10 teacher Aysegul Candir in the head multiple times in a Bramalea Secondary School parking lot. Mrs. Candir was pronounced dead in hospital later in the day.[86] Peel Regional Police would later apprehend Candir's 62-year-old husband, Erhun, and charge him with murder. The incident was considered as a domestic dispute, and even though the school was locked down for most of the day, students were never in harms way. Mrs. Candir is remembered as a "wonderful" teacher.
Dawson College shooting Montreal, Quebec September 13 2006 2 25-year-old Kimveer Gill began shooting outside the de Maisonneuve Boulevard entrance to the school, hitting several students and visitors, and moved towards the atrium by the cafeteria on the main floor, where he shot dozens of additional victims.[87][88] The shooter later committed suicide by shooting himself in the head after being shot in the arm by police.[89] One victim died at the scene, while another 19 were injured, eight of whom were listed in critical condition with six requiring surgery.[90][91][92]
C. W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute shooting Toronto, Ontario May 23 2007 1 Two 17-year-old Canadian citizens, whom the media can not identify under the provisions of Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act, were arrested on May 27, 2007, and charged with the first-degree murder of a 15-year-old student at the C. W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute. Prior to one of the arrests, police had taken the unusual step of obtaining a judicial order to publish one suspect's name and photograph as he was considered armed and dangerous. Media reported his identity and photo, then had to take the stories off their websites after he was arrested hours later.[82]
Bendale Business and Technical Institute shooting Toronto, Ontario September 16 2008 0 A 16-year-old boy was shot in the chest in the school's parking lot following an altercation involving several people. The victim was hospitalized in critical condition. On September 17, 2008, Toronto Police announced it had made two arrests in the case; 18-year-old Mark Deicsics, was charged with armed robbery.[93]
Central Technical School shooting Toronto, Ontario September 30 2010 0 At least one gunshot was fired from a handgun following a confrontation between four students, causing a victim to suffer a graze wound to his temple. The school was placed under lock down, and two 17-year-olds were charged by police, one with charges related to the shooting, and the other with conspiracy.[94][95]
Les Racines de vie Montessori Gatineau, Quebec April 5 2013 2 A gunman killed one man and himself at a small daycare. There were 53 children present at the school, which is divided between two houses. Daycare staff at the houses, 225 and 229 Gamelin St., called 911 at 10:27 a.m. about a man threatening people. Police arrived and found one man dead with a shotgun beside him, apparently a suicide. A second dead man was found soon after. Police have identified one of the dead as Robert Charron but have not named him the shooter.[96]
York University shooting Toronto, Ontario March 6 2014 0 One woman was shot and suffered non-life-threatening injuries and another woman received minor non-gun-related injuries from the suspect during a shooting that took place at the University Student Centre. Kemon Edwards, 22, is alleged to have been carrying a gun that accidentally discharged in the crowded student centre around 10:45 p.m. during the weekly pub night at the Underground, which is connected to the cafeteria. He faces 17 charges including discharging a firearm, careless use of a firearm and aggravated assault.[97]
La Loche shootings La Loche, Saskatchewan January 22 2016 4 Two people were killed and seven others were injured when a 17-year-old student opened fire inside of the La Loche Community School. Prior to the school shooting, the suspect shot dead two of his cousins at a home. The suspect was apprehended and is currently in custody.[98]

Mexico[edit]

The following is a list of incidents of shootings that occurred at schools in Mexico.

Name Location Date Year Death toll Notes
Ciudad Juárez school shooting Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua August 24 2011 1 Two cars drove up to an elementary school at around noontime, as parents were waiting for their children to be released from school. The men in the cars started firing assault rifles, killing one man, and wounding four women and one man. The elementary school was placed on lock-down and students were released after the situation was being handled. While the motive of the attack is reported to be unknown, schools in the Ciudad Juárez area have reported receiving threats and extortion demands in the past.[99]
Ciudad Juárez school shooting Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua January 12 2012 1 A 30-year-old man was killed by being shot nine times in front of children at an elementary school as they were leaving for the day. The shooting induced panic from parents of children, some of whom witnessed the shooting. The gunman was unidentified, as of 2012.[100]
Atizapán school shooting Atizapán de Zaragoza, Estado de México May 6 2014 1 13-year-old Ricardo Ordonez was shot and killed at a school. 15-year-old Édgar Yoevani was arrested.[101]
Monterrey school shooting Monterrey, Nuevo León Jan 18 2017 2 Colegio Americano del Noreste 2017 shootings 15-year-old Federico Guevara Elizondo committed suicide after shooting 2 students and a teacher. The teacher died more than 2 months later in hospital.[102]
UNAM school shooting Mexico City, Mexico Feb 23 2018 2 2 drug dealers that operated within the Ciudad Universitaria were apparently shot by two drug dealers from opposing cartels. The two victims, of ages 20 and 29, died the same day in a medical clinic. They had no relation to the institution.[103]

Europe[edit]

The following is a list of incidents of shootings that occurred at schools in the continent of Europe.

Name Location Date Year Death toll Notes
Bremen school shooting Bremen, Germany June 20 1913 5[104] 29-year-old unemployed teacher Heinz Schmidt indiscriminately shot at students and teachers, killing four girls and wounding more than twenty others before being subdued by school staff. A fifth girl also died during the incident when she fell down a staircase.[105]
Wilno school massacre Wilno, Second Polish Republic
(now Vilnius, Lithuania)
May 6 1925 5 A student of Joachim Lelewel High School, Stanisław Ławrynowicz, fired shots and detonated a hand grenade which killed him, two students and a teacher while sitting Matura (final exams). His friend, Janusz Obrębalski attempted to detonate another grenade, which turned out to be faulty. Obrębalski then committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. A bomb left by the two was later found in one of the classrooms.
Zadar school shooting Zadar, Yugoslavia October 1972 2 19-year-old student Milorad Vulinović shot and killed two of his professors using his father's stolen gun.[106]
Kungälv school shooting Kungälv, Sweden March 4 1961 1 A 17-year-old student fired fifteen bullets into a crowd at a school dance at Kungälvs Läroverk (aka Thorildskolan), killing one student and wounding six others before escaping. He turned himself in to local police the following morning and was arrested.
Cologne school massacre Cologne, Germany June 11 1964 11[107] 42-year-old Walter Seifert attacked numerous students and adults with a home-made flamethrower, killing eight students before murdering his last two victims, both female teachers, with a spear. He then swallowed parathion, and died the following day.
Eppstein school shooting Eppstein, Germany June 3 1983 6 34-year-old Czech refugee Karel Charva opened fire in a sixth-grade classroom, first shooting and wounding the teacher, then killing three students and injuring fourteen others. He then killed a teacher and a police officer who tried to intervene before committing suicide. An additional thirty children suffered from shock during the incident.
Ferres Comprehensive School Higham Ferrers, England, United Kingdom January 6 1988 0 Three months after he was expelled, Darren Fowler returned to his former school, Ferres Comprehensive School, shooting and wounding two teachers and two pupils before he was overpowered by staff.[108]
Raumanmeri school shooting Rauma, Finland January 24 1989 2 Two students were fatally shot by a 14-year-old student at the Raumanmeri secondary school. The shooter had claimed to be a victim of bullying.[109]
Aarhus University shooting Aarhus, Denmark April 5 1994 3 35-year-old student Flemming Nielsen shot and killed two people and wounded two others with a sawed-off shotgun before taking his own life.[110]
Dunblane massacre Dunblane, United Kingdom March 13 1996 18 43-year-old Thomas Hamilton opened fire in a gymnasium, killing sixteen children and one adult and injuring fifteen others before committing suicide. It remains the deadliest attack on children in British history.[111]
ROC de Leijgraaf Veghel, Netherlands December 7 1999 0 A 17-year-old student opened fire at ROC de Leijgraaf school, wounding three students and one teacher. One student was critically injured. It was the first school shooting in the history of the Netherlands.[112][113]
Erfurt massacre Erfurt, Germany April 26 2002 17 19-year-old Robert Steinhäuser began shooting through his former school, targeting teachers and faculty members. Twelve teachers and one administrator were killed, along with two students and a police officer; only one other person was injured. The shooter then committed suicide.[114]
Coburg shooting Coburg, Germany July 3 2003 1 A 16-year-old student, known only as Florian K., shoots and wounds his teacher and an intervening school psychiatrist before taking his own life.[115]
Terra College The Hague, Netherlands January 2004 1 A student shoots the school principal, Hans van Wieren, in the head.
Rötz school shooting Rötz, Germany March 7 2005 0 After being ordered to leave the classroom, a 14-year-old student returned with a gun and threatened the life of the 35-year-old class teacher. During a struggle the weapon was fired and taken from the student. Investigators' findings state that the student did not intend to kill the teacher, but himself. No one was injured.[116]
Geschwister Scholl School attack Emsdetten, Germany November 20 2006 1 18-year-old Bastian Bosse, a former student of the school, fired several shots with two sawed-off rifles and a caplock pistol and also threw several homemade smoke bombs before killing himself. The incident ended with no other fatalities, with 37 people being injured, including four students who suffered gunshot wounds, one teacher wounded by being hit in the face with a smoke bomb, sixteen police officers who suffered from smoke inhalation, and the school custodian who was shot in the abdomen inside the school.[117]
Jokela school shooting Tuusula, Finland November 7 2007 9 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen opened fire in the school's main hallway, killing six students, school principal Helena Kalmi, and the school nurse before shooting and wounding himself in a suicide attempt; he later died at a hospital. One other person suffered gunshot wounds, and eleven people were injured by shattering glass while escaping from the school building. The day before the incident, Auvinen posted a video on YouTube predicting the massacre at the school.[118][119]
Kauhajoki school shooting Kauhajoki, Finland September 23 2008 11 22-year-old student Matti Juhani Saari entered the school via the basement and opened fire in a classroom he attended before setting it on fire with homemade Molotov cocktails and then fleeing the scene. Nine students and one staff member died in the incident. A woman was shot in the head and critically wounded, but survived after having two operations, while ten other students sustained minor injuries such as sprains and cuts from broken glass. Authorities eventually found Saari, who had shot himself but was still alive; he died a short time later. It was assumed that the Jokela case, the previous year (above), inspired Saari to commit the massacre.[120]
Winnenden school shooting Winnenden, Germany March 11 2009 16 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer, a former student of the school, opened fire in two classrooms and a chemistry laboratory, killing nine and injuring seven others. He then successfully escaped the school, killing two female teachers in the process. Afterwards, he shot and killed the caretaker of a psychiatric facility and then carjacked a motorist, who drove him into another town before escaping unharmed. The shooter opened fire in a car showroom after unsuccessfully trying to steal a car, killing two and injuring two others. He then committed suicide after a brief shootout with police.[121][122]
OAED Vocational College shooting Athens, Greece April 10 2009 1 19-year-old Dimitris Patmanidis shot and wounded a student and two workers from a nearby technical company before shooting and wounding himself in the head in a suicide attempt. He died later at a hospital.[123]
Kanebogen Elementary School shooting Harstad, Norway April 28 2009 0 A nine-year-old student fires a shotgun in schoolyard; however, nobody was injured in the incident. The shooter was disarmed and subdued by a female teacher, but due to his age, he wasn't tried for the crime, although his father was fined for not keeping the shotgun, a rifle, and ammunition according to Norwegian rules. This was the first Norwegian school shooting.[124]
University of Pécs shooting Pécs, Hungary November 26 2009 1 A 23-year-old student entered the building of the university's biophysics research institute and opened fire in the classroom, killing one man. In earlier reports, two people were reported to be in critical condition and a third in serious condition.[125]
Toulouse school shooting Toulouse, France March 19 2012 5 23-year-old Mohammed Merah opened fire at a Jewish day school, killing three schoolchildren and a teacher. The incident was the last of three terrorist attacks against French soldiers and Jewish civilians, occurring in an eight-day span. The shooter was later shot and killed by police after a massive three-day manhunt and a 30-hour standoff at his home.[126]
2014 Moscow school shooting Moscow, Russia February 3 2014 2 High school student Sergey Gordeyev, armed with two rifles, forced his way past a security guard, took hostages, and killed his geography teacher. He then killed a police officer and wounded another who arrived at the scene. He later released the hostages and was captured by the police after his father came to the school.[127]
2014 Viljandi school shooting Viljandi, Estonia October 27 2014 1 A 15-year-old boy killed his German language teacher with gun in Paalalinna school. All students were evacuated in school hall and police arrested the shooter. As of now, it remains unclear as to why the shooting took place.
2015 Joan Fuster school shooting Barcelona, Spain April 20 2015 1 A 13-year-old boy armed with a crossbow and a machete killed a teacher and injured 4. The first ever student to organise a school shooting in Spain had a breakdown when his PE teacher managed to talk with him, then proceeded to sit in a classroom until the police arrived. Under the Spanish law, the boy is exempt from legal responsibility because he's under 14.
Tocqueville high school shooting Grasse, France March 16 2017 0 Kylian Barbey, a 17-year-old boy, armed with a rifle, two handguns, a revolver and two grenades opened fire at Alexis de Tocqueville high school. A total of four were injured, three students and the school's principal. Anti-terrorist commandos were sent to the scene and the shooter was arrested. The perpetrator's Facebook and YouTube accounts showed that he was interested in the Columbine Massacre and watched videos on how to make homemade weapons.[128]
Shadrinsk school shooting Shadrinsk, Russia March 21 2018 0 A 13-year-old girl opened fire with a gas pistol at her school in Russia's Kurgan region, injuring seven seventh graders. The victims suffered bruises and scrapes.[129]

South America[edit]

The following is a list of incidents of shootings that occurred in South American schools.

Name Location Date Death toll Notes
Limeira school shooting Limeira, Brazil March 6, 2001 1 During an argument with his girlfriend's brother a 16-year-old student drew a pistol and began shooting at his high school, hitting three students nearby, one of them fatally.[130]
Carmen de Patagones school shooting Carmen de Patagones, Argentina September 28, 2004 4 Four students killed and five wounded by a 15-year-old student in a town 620 miles south of Buenos Aires.[131]
Realengo massacre Rio de Janeiro, Brazil April 7, 2011 13 A former student (23) fatally shot 12 people inside the school and committed suicide after being shot down by a policeman.[132]
Goyases School Shooting Goiania, Brazil October 20, 2017 2 A Student of the Goyases Private School fatally shot 2 classmates and left 4 injuries, tries to commit suicide but is convinced not to do it by a teacher, being arrested right after the crime[133]

Asia[edit]

The following is a list of incidents of shootings that occurred in schools in the continent of Asia.

Name Location Date Death toll Notes
Li Shing Junior High School Taipei, Taiwan January 26, 1962 7 Tsui Yin, a 41-year-old former physical education teacher at Li Shing junior high school in Taipei, shot and killed the principal, the principal's wife and five other faculty members with a pistol, in revenge for his dismissal. He wounded three others, among them the principal's daughter, before escaping in a taxi. He was arrested and sentenced to death.[134][135]
Ma'alot massacre Ma'alot, Israel May 15, 1974 25 The Ma'alot massacre was a terrorist attack carried out by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine at the Netiv Meir elementary school in the town of Ma'alot. It included a two-day hostage-taking of 115 people which ended in the deaths of over 25 hostages.
Sanaa massacre Sana'a, Yemen March 30, 1997 8 The Sanaa massacre was a school massacre that occurred in Sana'a, Yemen, on March 30, 1997. Mohammad Ahman al-Naziri, 48, attacked hundreds of pupils at two schools, killing six children and two adults with an assault rifle. Naziri, whose five children attended the Tala'i school, alleged that one of his daughters had been raped by the school administrator. No evidence was found of this. Naziri was sentenced to death the next day and executed on April 5, 1997[136]
University of the Philippines shooting Quezon City, Philippines February 19, 1999 1 A student was shot dead by a fraternity member after being mistaken for a member of the rival fraternity.[citation needed]
Longzhou County Middle School shooting Longzhou County, China October 19, 1999 1 After spending the afternoon drinking, school guard Liang Yongcheng walked into a students' dormitory at a middle school in Longzhou county and threatened to kill everybody who tried to stop him. He eventually committed suicide, but not before shooting a teacher and six students with a hunting rifle.[137]
Number 34 Middle School Lanzhou, China September 26, 2002 2 Yang Zhengming, who worked as a mini-bus driver for Number 34 Middle School in Lanzhou, killed a teacher and wounded two others at the school with a hunting rifle, one of the wounded being his former girlfriend. Police finally shot him dead after negotiating with him for two hours while he was standing on the roof and threatened to commit suicide.[138][139]
Pak Phanang school shooting Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand June 6, 2003 2 17-year-old Anatcha Boonkwan killed two, injured four of his fellow students after losing a fist-fight with one of his classmates.[140]
Niutoushan Primary School shooting Guangde County, China October 5, 2005 0 18 people, among them 16 children, were injured when Liu Shibing shot them with six home-made guns at Niutoushan Primary School in Guangde.[141]
Beirut Arab University shooting Beirut, Lebanon January 25, 2007 4 Four people were shot dead in clashes between pro- and anti-government activists on Thursday and about 200 were hurt in the violence that flared after a scuffle between students at a Beirut university. The opposition accused the government camp of starting the riots and the four dead included two Hezbollah students, who were fired at from rooftops.[citation needed]
Euro International school shooting Gurgaon, India December 12, 2007 1 A shooting occurred at Euro International, a private secondary school in Gurgaon, Haryana, India. The gunmen were students 14-year-old Akash Yadav[citation needed] and 13-year-old Vikas Yadav[citation needed], who shot and killed a 14-year-old student.[142]
Mercaz HaRav shooting Jerusalem, Israel March 6, 2008 9 Alaa Abu Dhein, an Israeli Arabic yeshiva bus driver, entered the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva with guns blazing, killing eight and wounding seven, before being shot dead himself by a part-time student. This incident, as do many massacres in the Levant, soon took on racial and religious overtones, pitting Palestinians and Israeli Arabs against Jews.[143][144][145]
Azerbaijan State Oil Academy shooting Baku, Azerbaijan April 30, 2009 13 29-year-old Farda Gadirov opened fire with a Makarov PM semi-automatic pistol inside the school building of Azerbaijan State Oil Academy, killing 12 people, and wounding 13 others. He committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.[146][147][148]
Xuwen school shooting Xuwen, Guangdong, China October 27, 2011 1 A 16-year-old student was shot and killed at the entrance gate of a public school.[149][150]
2014 Peshawar school attack Peshawar, Pakistan December 16, 2014 145 A group of nine Taliban gunmen stormed the Army Public School, shooting and lobbing grenades.[151]

Oceania[edit]

The following is a list of incidents of shootings that occurred in Oceanic region.

Name Location Date Death toll Notes
Waikino Schoolhouse shooting New Zealand October 19, 1923 2 Two children killed and nine wounded, including the headmaster, by John Higgins. This is the first and only school shooting to occur in New Zealand.[152]
Orara High School Coffs Harbour, Australia June 19, 1991 0 A student brought a rifle to school injuring 2 teachers and 1 student. The shooter was tackled to the ground by fellow students. This was the first known school shooting to occur in Australia.[153]
La Trobe University shooting Melbourne, Australia August 3, 1999 1 A student opened fire in a La Trobe University campus restaurant that he used to be employed by, killing the restaurant's manager. Other patrons were injured.[154]
Monash University shooting Melbourne, Australia October 21, 2002 2 A student shot his classmates and teacher, killing two and injuring five. It took place at Monash University in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.[155]
Tomaree High School Salamander Bay, Australia April 3, 2003 0 The shooter threw petrol bombs before opening fire, seriously wounding 2 students.[156]
Modbury High School Adelaide, Australia May 7, 2012 0 A Year eight student took a revolver on school grounds, firing shots, nobody was injured.[157]

Africa[edit]

The following is a list of incidents of shootings that occurred in schools in the continent of Africa.

Name Location Date Death toll Notes
Soweto school Soweto, South Africa September 19, 1994 0 An 18-year-old student shot and wounded seven of his schoolmates with a rifle, after he had been reprimanded. The youth then escaped in his father's car.[158]
Soweto school Soweto, South Africa July 29, 1999 3 Teacher Charles Raboroko shot and killed three of his colleagues in the staffroom at Anchor Comprehensive High School in Soweto. When he tried to escape he was hindered by angry students outside the school, whereupon he hid in a classroom, where he was later arrested by police. Raboroko was said to have borne a grudge against one of his victims, Henry Lebea, whom he killed with five shots in the head.[159][160]
Welkom school Welkom, Free State, South Africa August 31, 2009 2 Jaco Stiglingh, a teacher at Gimnasium High School in Welkom, South Africa shot and killed deputy principal Johan Liebenberg, 53, inside his office before turning the gun on himself and committing suicide.[161]
Ngqeleni school Ngqeleni,
Eastern Cape,
South Africa
January 26, 2010 2 After an argument a 25-year-old man shot and seriously wounded his girlfriend, who was working as a clerk at Jongingaba Junior-Secondary School. A 12-year-old girl was also killed inside a classroom by a stray bullet, before the gunman tried to escape. He was later caught and killed by an angry mob.[162]
Spes Bona High School Cape Town, South Africa May 14, 2013 1 17-year-old Enrico Martin was shot in the head while he was entering Spes Bona High School. He later died in a hospital. Authorities believe that the attack was gang-related. No arrests have been made.[163][164]
Yobe State school shooting Mamudo, Nigeria July 6, 2013 42 42 people were fatally shot while 6 were injured.
Garissa University College attack Garissa, Kenya April 3, 2015 147 Somali Al-Shabaab militants killed 147 students at Garissa University College.[165]

Political impact[edit]

School shootings and other mass killings have had a major political impact. Governments have discussed gun-control laws, to increase time for background checks. Also, bulletproof school supplies have been created, including backpacks,[166] desks, bullet-resistant door panels,[166] and classroom whiteboards (or bulletin boards) which reinforce walls or slide across doors to deflect bullets.[167] Another organization that has proposed possible solutions to school shootings is the National Rifle Association (NRA), to allow teachers to carry weapons on school grounds as a means of protecting themselves and others. So far,[when?] ten states have already introduced legislation to allow weapons on school property with eighteen states already allowing guns to be carried on school grounds, but not without constraints. Most states also require the gun carriers to receive advance permission from the districts' superintendents or trustees. "In New York State, written permission from the school is required in order to carry a firearm on school grounds."[168]

Due to the political impact, this has spurred some to press for more stringent gun control laws. In the United States, the National Rifle Association is opposed to such laws, and some groups have called for fewer gun control laws, citing cases of armed students ending shootings and halting further loss of life, and claiming that the prohibitions against carrying a gun in schools do not deter the gunmen.[169][better source needed][170] One such example is the Mercaz HaRav Massacre, where the attacker was stopped by a student, Yitzhak Dadon, who shot him with his personal firearm which he lawfully carried concealed. At a Virginia law school, there is a disputed claim that three students retrieved pistols from their cars and stopped the attacker without firing a shot.[171] Also, at a Mississippi high school, the Vice Principal retrieved a firearm from his vehicle and then eventually stopped the attacker as he was driving away from the school.[172] In other cases, such as shootings at Columbine and Red Lake High Schools, the presence of an armed police officer did little to nothing to prevent the killings.[173]

A ban on the ownership of handguns was introduced in the United Kingdom (with the exception of Northern Ireland) following the Dunblane massacre.[174]

The Gun-Free Schools Act was passed in 1994 in response to gun related violence in schools, as a result to that a lot of school system started adopting the Zero-Tolerance Law. The Gun-Free school act required people to be expelled from the school for a year. By the year of 1997 the Zero-Tolerance for any type of weapon was implemented by more than 90 percent of U.S public schools.[175]

Police response and countermeasures[edit]

Analysis of the Columbine school shooting and other incidents where first responders waited for backup has resulted in changed recommendations regarding what bystanders and first responders should do. An analysis of 84 mass shooting cases in the US from 2000 to 2010 found that the average response time by police was 3 minutes.[176] In most instances that exceeds the time the shooter is engaged in killing. While immediate action may be extremely dangerous, it may save lives which would be lost if people involved in the situation remain passive, or a police response is delayed until overwhelming force can be deployed. It is recommended that civilians involved in the incident take active steps to evacuate, hide, or counter the shooter and that individual law enforcement officers present or first arriving at the scene attempt immediately to engage the shooter. In many instances, immediate action by civilians or law enforcement has saved lives. For these reasons, it is recommended that civilians are properly trained in how to respond to active shooter situations.[176]

College and university response and countermeasures[edit]

The Massengill Report was an after-action report created in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting, which brought national attention to the need for colleges and universities to take concerning behavior and threats seriously. It has led to the creation of hundreds of behavioral intervention teams which help access and coordinate institutional responses to behavioral concerns on college and university campuses.

Armed classrooms[edit]

There has been considerable policy discussion about how to help prevent school and other types of mass shootings. One suggestion that has come up is the idea to allow firearms in the classroom. "Since the issue of arming teachers is a relatively new topic, it has received little empirical study. Therefore, most of the literature does not come from peer reviewed sources but rather published news reports. In addition, most of these reports are not objective and clearly appear to support a specific side of the debate."[177] So far, data has been inconclusive as to whether or not arming teachers would have any sort of benefit for schools. For years, some areas in the US have allowed "armed classrooms" to deter (or truncate) future attacks by changing helpless victims into armed defenders. Advocates of arming teachers claim that it will reduce fatalities in school shootings, but many others disagree.

Many teachers have had their concerns with the idea of armed classrooms. "One teacher stated that although she is pro-gun, she does not feel as though she could maintain gun safety on school grounds (Reuters, 2012). Teachers expressed the fear that bigger students could overpower them, take the weapon, and then use it against the teacher or other students." Some members of the armed forces have also had concerns with armed classrooms. Police forces in Texas brought up the potential for teachers to leave a gun where a student could retrieve and use it. "They are further concerned that if every teacher had a gun, there would be an unnecessarily large number of guns in schools (even including elementary schools). This large number of guns could lead to accidental shootings, especially those involving younger children who do not understand what guns do."

Fortunately this is not the case for schools throughout the country which have had great success with their teachers being armed"[178] as they followed the plan the government outlined to keep the children safe, proper training for each person who would be handling the weapon, screening to ensure individuals using the guns are willing to protect the children from a threat with the gun they are trained to use.[179]

There are some teachers who want to carry a firearm to protect their students. Kasey Hansen, a special needs teacher in Utah thinks that every teacher should carry. She says, "We are the first line of defense. Someone is going to call the cops and they are going to be informed, but how long is it going to take for them to get to the school? And in that time how many students are going to be affected by the gunman roaming the halls?"[180]

In order to diminish school shootings all together there are many preventative measures that can be taken such as:

  • Installing wireless panic alarms to alert law enforcement.
  • Limiting points of entry with security guarding them.
  • Strategically placing telephones for emergencies so police are always reachable at any point in the campus.[181]
  • Employing school psychologists to monitor and provide mental health services for those that need help.[182]
  • Coordinating a response plan between local police and schools in the event of a threat.[183]

In a 2013 research report published by the Center for Homicide Research, they find that many also reject the idea of having armed classrooms due to what is termed the "weapons effect," which is the phenomenon in which simply being in the presence of a weapon can increase feelings of aggression. "In Berkowitz & LaPage's (1967) examination of this effect, students who were in the presence of a gun reported higher levels of aggressive feelings towards other students and gave more violent evaluations of other students' performance on a simple task in the form of electric shocks. This finding points to possible negative outcomes for students exposed to guns in the classroom (Simons & Turner, 1974; Turner & Simons, 1976)."[184]

In 2008, Harrold Independent School District in Texas became the first public school district in the U.S. to allow teachers with state-issued firearm-carry permits to carry their arms in the classroom; special additional training and ricochet-resistant ammunition were required for participating teachers.[185] Students at the University of Utah have been allowed to carry concealed pistols (so long as they possess the appropriate state license) since a State Supreme Court decision in 2006.[186][187] In addition to Utah, Wisconsin and Mississippi each have legislation that allow students, faculty and employees with the proper permit, to carry concealed weapons on their public university's campuses.[188][189] Colorado and Oregon state courts have ruled in favor of Campus Carry laws by denying University's proposals to ban guns on campus. Ruling that the UC Board of Regents and the Oregon University System did not have the authority to ban weapons on campus.[190][191] A selective ban was then re-instated, wherein Oregon state universities enacted a ban on guns in school building and sporting events or by anyone contracted with the university in question.[192] A commentary in the conservative National Review Online argues that the armed school approach for preventing school attacks, while new in the US, has been used successfully for many years in Israel and Thailand.[193] Teachers and school officials in Israel are allowed and encouraged to carry firearms if they have former military experience in the IDF, which almost all do. Statistics on what percentage of teachers are actually armed are unavailable and in Israel, for example, the intent is to counter politically motivated terrorist attacks on high value, soft targets, not personal defense against, or protection from, unbalanced individual students.

The National Rifle Association has explicitly called for placing armed guards in all American schools.[194] However, Steven Strauss, a faculty member at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, offered a preliminary calculation that placing armed guards in every American school might cost as much as $15 billion/year, and perhaps only save 10 lives per year (at a cost of $1.5 billion/life saved).[195]

Preventive measures[edit]

A preventive measure proposed for stopping school shooting has been focused on securing firearms in the home. A shooting in Sparks, Nevada on October 21, 2013, left a teacher and the shooter, a twelve-year-old student, dead with two seriously injured. The handgun used in the shooting had been taken from the shooter's home. Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Red Lake High School in Red Lake, Minnesota in 2005, and Heath High School in West Paducah, Kentucky in 1997 also involved legal guns taken from the home.

A 2000 study of firearm storage in the United States found that "from the homes with children and firearms, 55% reported to have one or more firearms in an unlocked place." 43% reported keeping guns without a trigger lock in an unlocked place. In 2005 a study was done on adult firearm storage practices in the United States found that over 1.69 million youth under age 18 are living in homes with loaded and unlocked firearms. Also, 73% of children under age 10 living in homes with guns reported knowing the location of their parents' firearms.[196]

Most states have Child Access Prevention Laws – laws designed to prevent children from accessing firearms. Each state varies in the degree of the severity of these laws. The toughest laws enforce criminal liability when a minor achieves access to a carelessly stored firearm. The weakest forbid people from directly providing a firearm to a minor. There is also a wide range of laws that fall in between the two extremes. One example is a law that enforces criminal liability for carelessly stored firearms, but only where the minor uses the firearm and causes death or serious injury. An example of a weaker law is a law that enforces liability only in the event of reckless, knowing or deliberate behavior by the adult.[197]

Countermeasures[edit]

In 2015 Southwestern High School in Shelbyville, Indiana, was portrayed as possibly the "safest school in America". The school has been used as a "Safe School Flagship" of possible countermeasures to an active shooter.[198]

  • All teachers have lanyards with a panic button that alerts police.[199]
  • Classrooms have automatically locking "hardened doors", and windows have "hardened exterior glass" to deflect bullets and physical attack.[199]
  • Cameras, described as "military-grade", that feed video directly to Shelby County Sheriff’s Office[198] are mounted throughout the school.[199]
  • Smoke canisters mounted in the roof of corridors can be remotely discharged to slow a shooter's movement.[199]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Literature[edit]

  • Muschert, Glen – Sumiala, Johanna (eds.): School Shootings: Mediatized Violence in a Global Age. Studies in Media and Communications, 7. Bingley: Emerald, 2012. ISSN 2050-2060 ISBN 978-1-78052-918-9

External links[edit]