Media hysteria aside, school killings are not on the rise!


January 18, 2008, 04:36 PM

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Killings at U.S. schools have not risen in recent years, despite some highly publicized crimes, and are far lower than in the early 1990s, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracked student slayings in public and private elementary, middle and high schools, finding that the rate had dropped by more than half from 1992 to 2006.

The rate remained stable from July 1999 to June 2006, CDC and other government researchers reported. During that time, an average of 16.5 students per year were killed on school campuses, going to or from school, or at school events.

Homicide is the second-leading cause of death in Americans aged 5 to 18, behind only accidents, but slightly fewer than 1 percent of these were school killings, the report showed.

About two-thirds of the homicides involved gunshot wounds, with other leading causes including stabbings and beatings, the CDC said. The average age of a victim was 15, the CDC said.

There was a higher homicide rate among male students and students in urban areas, the CDC said. Most of the school killings involved a single victim and a single attacker.

"Despite the occurrence of some high-profile events, schools remain relatively safe places for students. The vast majority of homicides among children and youth tend to occur outside of school hours and off school properties," CDC behavioral scientist Jeff Hall said in a telephone interview.

The study did not look at killings on college campuses, such as the one last year at Virginia Tech in which a student with a history of mental illness killed 32 people before shooting himself.


High-profile school shootings in the United States, where gun control is often far less strict than in many countries, have grabbed international headlines in recent years.

In April 1999, two boys killed 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, before killing themselves. In May 1998, a boy killed two students at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon. His parents were later found slain in their home.

In March 2005, a boy killed five students, a teacher and a security guard at a school at Minnesota's Red Lake Indian Reservation and also killed his grandfather and his grandfather's companion.

Hall said the study showed that multiple-victim incidents were not the norm.

The study found that from 1992 to 2006, student homicides at U.S. schools dropped from a rate of 0.07 per 100,000 students to 0.03 per 100,000.

From July 1999 to June 2006, 116 students died in school-associated homicides. Only eight of the 109 incidents resulted in more than one death.

William Modzeleski of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools said he is encouraged.

"You have this constant drumbeat of news about these events," said Modzeleski, whose department took part in the study. "The perception is they're always occurring. The reality is they're not always occurring. They're damaging when they do occur. And even one school shooting is one too many."

In tracking school deaths, the researchers searched media data bases and confirmed the facts of each event with law enforcement authorities and schools, the CDC said.

The CDC said it encourages schools to reduce crowding, increase student supervision, take seriously threats of violence and respond to bullying incidents between students.

(Editing by Maggie Fox and Stuart Grudgings)

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Standing Wolf
January 18, 2008, 05:33 PM
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracked student slayings in...

This is task for the F.B.I., not a supposedly "medical" organization.

January 18, 2008, 05:51 PM
Actually the CDC tracks all causes of death and reports on them. It's part of their public health duties.

Professor Gun
January 18, 2008, 05:57 PM
Of course, as we all know the CDC is totally objective in it's reporting of data pertaining to firearms.....:rolleyes:

January 18, 2008, 07:49 PM
I don't know if this is right or not but when i was in school if you had a problem with someone else or they had a problem with you then you fought.

After the fight sometimes you were friends and sometimes not but at least you aired your problems and went on. I can not think of a single moment that i ever thought of killing or badly hurting some school mate. I might not ever like them and have a couple to this day that if i saw them i still might pop them in the mouth, but shoot them up, no way.

I think the zero tolerance of the schools has had the exact opposite effect. Kids seem to bottle up their feelings until they explode and kill. My dad said in the navy if you had a beef with someone you put on the gloves and got in a boxing ring solved your differences.

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