DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

This paper will examine the school shootings in the Unites States. Will also be focusing on school rampage shootings, focusing on the time from 1990s to the present. School rampage shootings are said to be different from other forms of violence because of the fairly safe countryside surroundings in which most of these events occur. While this type of violence seems to have rose in the mid-1990s, school violence in general and school shootings in particular have taken place. A study shows that certain fundamentals of school rampage shootings are unique, while others do not separate them from more common forms of violence. The purpose of this paper is to review research on school shootings in America. This paper will talk about the history of school violence, and theory and developments that have arisen in recent years in reaction to school shootings.

Since the mid-1990s, Americans have come to see schools as places of possible violence. The media reaction to these events; school shootings meant to show that America is suffering from an epidemic of school violence and that schools were no longer safe environment for children. Violent school event have apparently grown in the last 20 years into a different and more deadly form. From the mid-1990s to the present, a handful number of school shootings occurred in which students carried deadly weapons to school and opened fire on fellow students or faculty members. Since 1996, nearly 60 school shootings have taken place in American schools, resulting in hundreds of deaths. One of the first recorded school shootings happened as early as 1956, when Billy Ray Prevatte brought a .22 caliber rifle to Maryland Park Junior High and shot three teachers. Two other attacks took place in 1966, one at the University of Texas and the other at Grand Rapids High School in Minnesota. In the 1970s, various school shootings happened. In 1974, Anthony Barbaro murdered three people at his high school in New York. In 1979 just outside of San Diego, Brenda Spencer opened fire on people standing outside an elementary school in the late 1980s, school deaths increased, occurring mostly in urban schools and involving individual argument with single victims. According to the most recently available statistics, only 24 homicides occurred at school in the 2008–2009 school year at elementary, middle and high schools (Robers, Zhang, Truman, & Snyder, 2010).

While school shootings and homicides have remained constant over the last 20 years (Dinkes et al., 2009), some report that school rampage shootings increased significantly in the last decade of the 20th century (Newman et al., 2004). Since the 1990s, there has been a slump in rampage shootings. However, in recent years there have been multiple incidents of students carrying guns to school with the intention of committing mass murder. In the few weeks after a 2001 California school shooting, 16 students across the state were “in custody” for making threats or carrying weapons to school (CNN)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 7.4% of high school students in 2011 reported they were being threatened or harmed with a weapon on school grounds. The National Center for Education Statistics notes that between 1992 and 2009, there were have been between 14 and 34 homicides among children from the ages of 5 to 18 at school each year. The CDC states “Approximately 1% of all youth homicides in 2008-2009 occurred at school, and the percentage of all youth homicides occurring at school has been less than 2% since the 1992-1993 school year. In addition, the CDC notes that 5.4% of students were carrying a weapon gun or knife to school more than just one day. Many schools have put strategies to play to eliminate or lessen the damage and loss of life in possible future school attacks/rampages. 58% of suburban schools perform safety drills according to a specified plan, compared with 49% of urban schools and 48% of rural schools.

While college campuses are fairly safe places, a single gunman shattered the pledge of safety and security on campus on April 16, 2007. Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech, shot 49 students and faculty, killing 32, before killing himself. The attacker important mental instability and previous contact with mental health professionals are critical to understanding how he was able to carry out his murderous rage. The irony is that some of the anticipated gun control measures that it would have been useless for preventing either Columbine or the Virginia Tech. It would instead be perfectly reasonable for preventing ordinary gun violence. 

Gary Keck, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at Florida State University argues that it would be a perfectly reasonable, for the purpose of reducing ordinary gun violence, to extend background checks on gun purchasers.  This proposed gun plan could and would prevent casually motivated gun purchase by convicted criminals and other high-risk persons who are less powerfully motivated than mass killers to get guns regardless of the stipulations. Gun control wouldn’t have prevented tragedies like the one in Connecticut, and this is probably true. However it would lessen the likelihood of a lot of other potential school shootings, much of the smaller tragedies/events that receive less publicity, but still cause enormous pain.



DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.