Despite the horror of the high school massacre in Florida, U.S. schools overall are safer today than they were in the early 1990s, and there is not an epidemic of such shootings, a new academic study is reporting.
Researchers at Northeastern University say mass school shootings are extremely rare, that shootings involving students have been declining since the 1990s, and four times as many children were killed in schools in the early 1990s than today.
“There is not an epidemic of school shootings,” said James Alan Fox, the Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy at Northeastern. He said more children die each year from pool drownings or bicycle accidents.
There are about 55 million school children in the U.S., the study said, and over the past 25 years, about 10 students on average per year were killed by gunfire at school.
The researchers used data collected by USA Today, the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report, Congressional Research Service, Gun Violence Archive, Stanford Geospatial Center and Stanford Libraries, Mother Jones, Everytown for Gun Safety, and a New York City Police Department report on active shooters.
The hard-left wing Everytown group said this month that its own propaganda shows there have been nearly 300 school shootings in America since 2013 — defining a shooting as anytime a firearm discharges a live round inside or into a school building, or on a school campus.
Since the shooting on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and wounded 15 others, policymakers including President Trump have been exploring ways to prevent more school tragedies, including proposals to arm more teachers and to raise the age limit for purchasing firearms.
Mr. Fox said some policy changes could lead to an overall decrease in gun violence, such as banning “bump stocks” and raising the age of purchase for assault rifles from 18 to 21. But he doesn’t believe such measures will prevent all school shootings.
“The thing to remember is that these are extremely rare events, and no matter what you can come up with to prevent it, the shooter will have a workaround,” Mr. Fox said in a report on the university’s website.
Co-researcher Emma Fridel said increasing mental health resources for students also could improve school safety. She said the U.S. has a shortage of guidance counselors, with a student-to-counselor ratio of 482-1 in the 2014-15 school year, about twice the recommended ratio.
“You might have students in a very large school who are troubled but who are basically flying under the radar, because you have one guidance counselor for 400 students,” Ms. Fridel said.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
February 27th, 2018