Video Abstract

Video Abstract

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OBJECTIVES

Gun violence in the United States is a public health crisis. In 2019, gun injury became the leading cause of death among children aged birth to 19 years. Moreover, the United States has had 57 times as many school shootings as all other major industrialized nations combined. The purpose of this study was to understand the frequency of school-related gun violence across a quarter century, considering both school shootings and school mass shootings.

METHODS

We drew on 2 publicly available datasets whose data allowed us to tabulate the frequency of school shootings and school mass shootings. The databases contain complementary data that provide a longitudinal, comprehensive view of school-related gun violence over the past quarter century.

RESULTS

Across the 1997–1998 to 2021–2022 school years, there were 1453 school shootings. The most recent 5 school years reflected a substantially higher number of school shootings than the prior 20 years. In contrast, US school mass shootings have not increased, although school mass shootings have become more deadly.

CONCLUSIONS

School shootings have risen in frequency in the recent 25 years and are now at their highest recorded levels. School mass shootings, although not necessarily increasing in frequency, have become more deadly. This leads to detrimental outcomes for all the nation’s youth, not just those who experience school-related gun violence firsthand. School-based interventions can be used to address this public health crisis, and effective approaches such as Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports and services should be used in support of students’ mental health and academic and behavioral needs.

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