The massacre at Columbine High School in 1999 was at the time the worst school based shooting in America. It was not the first, however, and many shootings and deaths have occurred since.
While several countries have suffered similar horrors, America ignobly leads the world with 45 of 59 school-based shootings (76%) as referenced on the table below.
What have we learned? What have we done?
In a Tuesday article published by the Christian Science Monitor, experts are reporting favorable trends in school related violent deaths. A federal School Crime and Safety Report puts the number at an all time low since 1992, when data of this kind began to be tracked.
But when a more narrow focus is applied to only shootings, based on a 15-year review by The Children’s Campaign, in 5-year increments, incidents do not appear to have declined in frequency:
From 1996 – 2000 – 18 incidents
From 2001-2005 – 13 incidents
From 2006 – 2010 – 14 incident
Exact numbers, however, are difficult to find and validate. No central database on student initiated shootings exists and the types range from random acts to suicides to gang violence and even accidents.
If progress has occurred, experts generally agree it’s a result of heightened awareness. Warning signs are more apt to be noticed by watchful school administrators and wary parents. Students are more likely to come forward to report threats involving their peers, especially when advance clues are posted on social networks.
Kenneth Trump, president of the Cleveland-based National School Safety and Security Services, told the Monitor he’s worried that untreated mental illness, among other factors, may lead to an increase in future incidents.
Trump along with other school safety experts have expressed additional concerns about complacency. If complacency is a contributing factor, it is confounding because one heinous incident has followed another with enough regularity so as not to forget.
The national Justice Policy Institute on Tuesday released some recommendations of its own:
- School districts should work toward abandoning zero tolerance and law enforcement responses to student behavior and begin relying on evidence-based programs that include peer mediation, mentoring and peaceable education.
- Hire more counselors: schools are not fully staffed according to accepted standards.
- Better our education rather than increasing justice system interventions.
- Unnecessary referrals to the juvenile justice system disrupt a student’s educational process – practices that can lead to suspension, expulsion, or other alienation from school.
Whether the cause is chronic bullying, social alienation, disruptive homes, access to lethal weapons or mental dysfunction, the sad reality is that law enforcement is called upon from the cell phones or urgent text messages of students during or immediately after these shootings. Home, school, and community-wide solutions are necessary to prevent them in the first place.
Recently, The Children’s Campaign published testimony by the Southern Poverty Law Center about the alleged abuse of children in a Polk County jail. One must ask, will harshly treated children in institutional care return to their communities, and to their schools, more or less likely to strike out in anger based on the violence they witnessed or abuse received?
Florida, too, in the next couple of days will settle on its education and health and human services budgets. How many of the lessons post-Columbine will be followed and how many ignored?
Time Line of Worldwide School Shootings
The following table lists the worldwide school shootings from 1996 to the present. Find the date, location, and a short description of each incident.
|Feb. 2, 1996
Moses Lake, Wash.
|Two students and one teacher killed, one other wounded when 14-year-old Barry Loukaitis opened fire on his algebra class.|
|March 13, 1996
|16 children and one teacher killed at Dunblane Primary School by Thomas Hamilton, who then killed himself. 10 others wounded in attack.|
|Feb. 19, 1997
|Principal and one student killed, two others wounded by Evan Ramsey, 16.|
|Eight people (six students and two others) at two schools killed by Mohammad Ahman al-Naziri.|
|Oct. 1, 1997
|Two students killed and seven wounded by Luke Woodham, 16, who was also accused of killing his mother. He and his friends were said to be outcasts who worshiped Satan.|
|Dec. 1, 1997
West Paducah, Ky.
|Three students killed, five wounded by Michael Carneal, 14, as they participated in a prayer circle at Heath High School.|
|Dec. 15, 1997
|Two students wounded. Colt Todd, 14, was hiding in the woods when he shot the students as they stood in the parking lot.|
|March 24, 1998
|Four students and one teacher killed, ten others wounded outside as Westside Middle School emptied during a false fire alarm. Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, shot at their classmates and teachers from the woods.|
|April 24, 1998
|One teacher, John Gillette, killed, two students wounded at a dance at James W. Parker Middle School. Andrew Wurst, 14, was charged.|
|May 19, 1998
|One student killed in the parking lot at Lincoln County High School three days before he was to graduate. The victim was dating the ex-girlfriend of his killer, 18-year-old honor student Jacob Davis.|
|May 21, 1998
|Two students killed, 22 others wounded in the cafeteria at Thurston High School by 15-year-old Kip Kinkel. Kinkel had been arrested and released a day earlier for bringing a gun to school. His parents were later found dead at home.|
|June 15, 1998
|One teacher and one guidance counselor wounded by a 14-year-old boy in the school hallway.|
|April 20, 1999
|14 students (including killers) and one teacher killed, 23 others wounded at Columbine High School in the nation’s deadliest school shooting. Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, had plotted for a year to kill at least 500 and blow up their school. At the end of their hour-long rampage, they turned their guns on themselves.|
|April 28, 1999
Taber, Alberta, Canada
|One student killed, one wounded at W. R. Myers High School in first fatal high school shooting in Canada in 20 years. The suspect, a 14-year-old boy, had dropped out of school after he was severely ostracized by his classmates.|
|May 20, 1999
|Six students injured at Heritage High School by Thomas Solomon, 15, who was reportedly depressed after breaking up with his girlfriend.|
|Nov. 19, 1999
|Victor Cordova Jr., 12, shot and killed Araceli Tena, 13, in the lobby of Deming Middle School.|
|Dec. 6, 1999
Fort Gibson, Okla.
|Four students wounded as Seth Trickey, 13, opened fire with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun at Fort Gibson Middle School.|
|Dec. 7, 1999
|One teacher and three students wounded by a 17-year-old student.|
|Feb. 29, 2000
Mount Morris Township, Mich.
|Six-year-old Kayla Rolland shot dead at Buell Elementary School near Flint, Mich. The assailant was identified as a six-year-old boy with a .32-caliber handgun.|
|One teacher killed by a 15-year-old student, who then shot himself. The shooter has been in a coma ever since.|
|March 10, 2000
|Two students killed by Darrell Ingram, 19, while leaving a dance sponsored by Beach High School.|
|May 26, 2000
Lake Worth, Fla.
|One teacher, Barry Grunow, shot and killed at Lake Worth Middle School by Nate Brazill, 13, with .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol on the last day of classes.|
|Sept. 26, 2000
New Orleans, La.
|Two students wounded with the same gun during a fight at Woodson Middle School.|
|Jan. 17, 2001
|One student shot and killed in front of Lake Clifton Eastern High School.|
|Jan. 18, 2001
|One student killed by two boys, ages 17 and 19.|
|March 5, 2001
|Two killed and 13 wounded by Charles Andrew Williams, 15, firing from a bathroom at Santana High School.|
|March 7, 2001
|Elizabeth Catherine Bush, 14, wounded student Kimberly Marchese in the cafeteria of Bishop Neumann High School; she was depressed and frequently teased.|
|March 22, 2001
Granite Hills, Calif.
|One teacher and three students wounded by Jason Hoffman, 18, at Granite Hills High School. A policeman shot and wounded Hoffman.|
|March 30, 2001
|One student killed by Donald R. Burt, Jr., a 17-year-old student who had been expelled from Lew Wallace High School.|
|Nov. 12, 2001
|Chris Buschbacher, 17, took two hostages at the Caro Learning Center before killing himself.|
|Jan. 15, 2002
New York, N.Y.
|A teenager wounded two students at Martin Luther King Jr. High School.|
|Feb. 19, 2002
|Two killed in Eching by a man at the factory from which he had been fired; he then traveled to Freising and killed the headmaster of the technical school from which he had been expelled. He also wounded another teacher before killing himself.|
|April 26, 2002
|13 teachers, two students, and one policeman killed, ten wounded by Robert Steinhaeuser, 19, at the Johann Gutenberg secondary school. Steinhaeuser then killed himself.|
|April 29, 2002
|One teacher killed, one wounded by Dragoslav Petkovic, 17, who then killed himself.|
|October 28, 2002
|Robert S. Flores Jr., 41, a student at the nursing school at the University of Arizona, shot and killed three female professors and then himself.|
|April 14, 2003
New Orleans, La.
|One 15-year-old killed, and three students wounded at John McDonogh High School by gunfire from four teenagers (none were students at the school). The motive was gang-related.|
|April 24, 2003
Red Lion, Pa.
|James Sheets, 14, killed principal Eugene Segro of Red Lion Area Junior High School before killing himself.|
|Sept. 24, 2003
Cold Spring, Minn.
|Two students are killed at Rocori High School by John Jason McLaughlin, 15.|
|Sept. 28, 2004
Carmen de Patagones, Argentina
|Three students killed and 6 wounded by a 15-year-old Argentininan student in a town 620 miles south of Buenos Aires.|
|March 21, 2005
Red Lake, Minn.
|Jeff Weise, 16, killed grandfather and companion, then arrived at school where he killed a teacher, a security guard, 5 students, and finally himself, leaving a total of 10 dead.|
|Nov. 8, 2005
|One 15-year-old shot and killed an assistant principal at Campbell County High School and seriously wounded two other administrators.|
|Aug. 24, 2006
|Christopher Williams, 27, looking for his ex-girlfriend at Essex Elementary School, shot two teachers, killing one and wounding another. Before going to the school, he had killed the ex-girlfriend’s mother.|
|Sept. 13, 2006
|Kimveer Gill, 25, opened fire with a semiautomatic weapon at Dawson College. Anastasia De Sousa, 18, died and more than a dozen students and faculty were wounded before Gill killed himself.|
|Sept. 27, 2006
|Adult male held six students hostage at Platte Canyon High School and then shot and killed Emily Keyes, 16, and himself.|
|Sept. 29, 2006
|A 15-year-old student shot and killed Weston School principal John Klang.|
|Oct. 3, 2006
Nickel Mines, Pa.
|32-year-old Carl Charles Roberts IV entered the one-room West Nickel Mines Amish School and shot 10 schoolgirls, ranging in age from 6 to 13 years old, and then himself. Five of the girls and Roberts died.|
|Jan. 3, 2007
|Douglas Chanthabouly, 18, shot fellow student Samnang Kok, 17, in the hallway of Henry Foss High School.|
|April 16, 2007
|A 23-year-old Virginia Tech student, Cho Seung-Hui, killed two in a dorm, then killed 30 more 2 hours later in a classroom building. His suicide brought the death toll to 33, making the shooting rampage the most deadly in U.S. history. Fifteen others were wounded.|
|Sept. 21, 2007
|A Delaware State Univesity Freshman, Loyer D. Brandon, shot and wounded two other Freshman students on the University campus. Brandon is being charged with attempted murder, assault, reckless engagement, as well as a gun charge.|
|Oct. 10, 2007
|A 14-year-old student at a Cleveland high school, Asa H. Coon, shot and injured two students and two teachers before he shot and killed himself. The victims’ injuries were not life-threatening.|
|Nov. 7, 2007
|An 18-year-old student in southern Finland shot and killed five boys, two girls, and the female principal at Jokela High School. At least 10 others were injured. The gunman shot himself and died from his wounds in the hospital.|
|Feb. 8, 2008
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
|A nursing student shot and killed two women and then herself in a classroom at Louisiana Technical College in Baton Rouge.|
|Feb. 11, 2008
|A 17-year-old student at Mitchell High School shot and wounded a classmate in gym class.|
|Feb. 12, 2008
|A 14-year-old boy shot a student at E.O. Green Junior High School causing the 15-year-old victim to be brain dead.|
|Feb. 14, 2008
|Gunman killed five students and then himself, and wounded 17 more when he opened fire on a classroom at Northern Illinois University. The gunman, Stephen P. Kazmierczak, was identified as a former graduate student at the university in 2007.|
|Sept. 23, 2008
|A 20-year-old male student shot and killed at least nine students and himself at a vocational college in Kauhajok, 330km (205 miles) north of the capital, Helsinki.|
|Nov. 12, 2008
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
|A 15-year-old female student was shot and killed by a classmate at at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale.|
|March 11, 2009
|Fifteen people were shot and killed at Albertville Technical High School in southwestern Germany by a 17-year-old boy who attended the same school.|
|Feb. 5, 2010
|At Discovery Middle School, a ninth-grader was shot by another student during a class change. The boy, whose name was not released, pulled out a gun and shot Todd Brown in the head while walking the hallway. Brown later died at Huntsville Hospital.|
Source: Time Line of Worldwide School Shootings — Infoplease.com “http://www.infoplease.com/
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Write to Roy Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.