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An Average Of 57 Shootings Daily Near Public, Private K-12 Schools

Every day, an average of 57 shootings occur near a school in the United States, according to a new analysis by The Trace. In thousands of communities, children are traumatized in their classrooms — not from bullets fired within, but from violence happening outside school walls. Shootings have become disturbingly common for K-12 students. Between 2014 and 2023, there were at least 188,080 shootings within 500 yards of a school. That averages to 57 shootings a day occurring near a school.  The Trace looked specifically at Gun Violence Archiive data for shootings that took place within 500 yards of all public and private K-12 schools identified by the National Center for Education Statistics — more than 148,000 schools. Last year alone, more than 6 million children attended a school that had at least one shooting in this vicinity.


National attention is understandably focused on shootings that happen on school grounds during school hours. Less attention is paid to shootings around schools, which can also instill trauma. Schools are part of a community, and when a community is plagued by violence, students bring that burden with them to class. Research shows that childhood exposure to violence can have lasting effects on psychological and academic development. Early exposure to community gun violence can disrupt academic engagement, and hinder development of areas of the brain instrumental in decision-making, reasoning, and self-regulation. The trauma doesn’t have to be experienced firsthand in order to have a detrimental impact: In one study, neighborhood violence — measured in blood spatter and shell casings, police tape, memorials, and people fighting in the street — was associated with decreased reading proficiency on standardized tests for elementary schoolchildren. Debra Furr-Holden, an epidemiology expert and dean of New York  University’s School of Global Public Health, has studied the effect of gun violence on learning among children in high-crime communities in Baltimore for nearly two decades. On the walk to and from school, Baltimore city kids “are constantly exposed to the evidence of violence in their community,” she said. “You will see memorials on stop signs and light posts where somebody was killed. It’ll be like 20 teddy bears, a candle, a picture of the person.”

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