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Despite MI School Shooting, Data Show That Most Schools Are Safe

The shooting at Michigan’s Oxford High School in which four students were killed and seven others were injured has rekindled fears for students and their parents everywhere, writes Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox in USA Today. With most students back in the classroom after the holiday break, in the minds of some folks, it is once again open season for school shootings: time to beef up security, arm teachers, and train students how to “run, hide, fight” in case theirs is the next school confronted by an armed assailant. From 2010 through 2021, there were more than 800 K-12 school-related shootings in the U.S. involving a total of 1,149 victims, 910 of whom were injured in any way.


That’s an average of more than one shooting incident a week. It is noteworthy that fewer than half of the victims (532, to be exact) were students; the rest included staff members, parents, plus hundreds with no connection to the school whatsoever. Only 94 of the student victims suffered gunshot wounds that proved to be fatal. Over the past dozen years, nearly 70 students have been fatally shot inside of school during school hours, a death toll that translates to an average of almost six student fatalities per year. That is out of the more than 50 million children attending public or private schools – for a one-in-10 million chance of death by gunfire. Most of those in-school student fatalities were associated with five mass killing. Notwithstanding the occasional fatal assault, schools are safe, Fox declares.

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