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School Shooting Toll Rises Rapidly, With Major Impact on Minorities

In 2022, there were more school shootings, 46, than in any year since at least 1999. The federal government does not track school shootings, so the Washington Post has spent years tracking how many children in the U.S. have been exposed to gun violence during school hours since Colorado's Columbine High School massacre in 1999. Hundreds of news outlets cover the deadliest attacks, such as the Feb. 14, 2018, rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fl., where a 19-year-old man with an AR-style rifle killed 17 people. Others are covered by a single newspaper, such as a 2001 shooting at Pearl C. Anderson Middle School in Dallas, where a 14-year-old boy held a revolver to a girl’s chest and asked her whether she was “ready to die” before a bullet fired, grazing her hand. The newspaper says that at least 191 children, educators, and other people have been killed, and another 414 have been injured.

Among the most important findings was the disproportionate impact of school shootings on children of color. Almost all the deadliest assaults were committed by white gunmen, a reality that has left much of the public with the false impression that school shootings almost exclusively affect white students. Children of color, however, are far more likely to experience campus gun violence: more than twice as much for Hispanic students and over three times as much for Black students. At schools with majority Black student bodies, shooters typically target a specific person, limiting the number of people shot and the subsequent media exposure. In more than 180 shootings committed by juveniles since Columbine, where the source of the gun could be determined, 86 percent of the weapons were found in the homes of friends, relatives, or parents. Children are also responsible for more than half the nation's school shootings, none of which would be possible if children didn’t have access to firearms. While it remains highly unlikely that any student will experience a school shooting, it is fact that the number of incidents has risen rapidly in recent years.


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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