Center for Homeland Defense and Security Releases Comprehensive Database of School Shootings in America

School Shootings in America since 1970Thirteen hundred shootings have occurred in the U.S. since 1970 at schools serving children in grades kindergarten through 12th (K-12), according to a research project conducted by the program for Advanced Thinking in Homeland Security at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School.

The K-12 School Shooting Database is an interactive and live database that compiles all incidents “in which a gun is brandished, fired, or a bullet hits school property for any reason, regardless of the number of victims (including zero), time, day of the week, or reason.”

An accompanying report on the research and methodology used to develop the database explains that the definition of what constitutes a school shooting is often nebulous and may result in the exclusion of unique incidents.  The inclusion criteria used in this database involved any brandishing of a gun on a school campus whether it was used or not, and whether there were fatalities, injuries or neither. Incidents in which a shooting began but was averted were also included as they provide data and information on the factors that lead to a shooting incident and highlight methods used to prevent an incident. Incidents at higher education or technical institutions were not included in the database.  Incidents that involved students but did not occur on a school campus were also excluded, as were incidents that were thwarted prior to any action occurring.

The report defines nineteen categories of apparent cause as accidental, anger, bullying, targeted victim, dispute escalation, gang-related, hostage standoff, drug-related, indiscriminate, property damage, mental health episode, murder/suicide, officer/guard source, racial, robbery, self-defense, attempted suicide, and unknown. Users can download the dataset or use interactive analysis tools that will generate maps, graphs, charts and infographics.

More resources and reports on school violence can be found at the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL) topic on School Violence.

Some links in this article require access to the CHDS access, click here to access the database, factsheet, and report directly.


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