Is there really a “School shooting every other day in America”?

I finally had time to read a news article that Steve Satterly sent me a few days ago.  The headline asserted that there had been “A school shooting every other school day in America so far this school year.”  As I read the article I quickly discovered a common scare tactic, the article counted a shooting of an armed suspect by a police officer as a school shooting.  Sadly, we routinely see such incredibly inaccurate statistical data. Sometimes, the data manipulation is the result of sloppy research but in other instances, it seems more likely that the usage is unethical.  In this case, the data is also based on an apples and oranges comparison because the data set includes both K12 school incidents and incidents at institutions of higher learning.  Changing the data set in such a dramatic manner will definitely skew the results when we look at decades of data collection that is specific to K12 schools. 

Peer review research by trained researchers like Dr. Dewey Cornell provides a significant contrast to the numerous alarmist statistics that are bandied about as facts in America and abroad.  While some people may feel that the ends justifies the means, school safety professionals should stick to reputable data and avoid reliance upon the many forms of inaccurate school shooting data that is so prolific in our country. 

About Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn serves as the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a non-profit school safety center. The author of 27 books on school safety, Michael’s campus safety work has taken him to 11 countries over the past 34 years.