A 36-year-old man died from a gunshot wound after he was shot at a playground at Cathy Wever Elementary School in Hamilton, Canada Friday night. The victim was found when police responded to reports of shots heard around 8:20 p.m. at the School. The man was rushed to Hamilton General Hospital, where he later died. As with school shootings in The People’s Republic of China, South America, Europe, Africa and other regions, this incident is yet another reminder that school shootings are far from a uniquely American problem.
Though it is often difficult to compare school homicide rates between countries due to differences in reporting parameters, it appears likely that the per capita homicide rate for K-12 schools in Canada is very similar to that of the United States. Comparison of available data from British police in 2003 to homicide data from the United States showed a higher per capita homicide rate in England than in the United States for that school year.
Contrary to common perceptions of students, staff parents and many educators, the U.S. school homicide rate has declined sharply over the past thirty years. While data provided by some school safety product manufacturers and school safety consultants has shown increases in the U.S. school homicide rate, we have not seen any replicable studies using standard research methodologies that shows an increase in the U.S. school homicide rate. While the number of incidents is still far too high, great progress has been made in school safety in the United States.