School Climate & Safety

Books on School Shootings Offer Advice, Warnings

By Amy Wickner — December 14, 2012 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print


Today’s horrible news—a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., left 20 children and six adults dead—has prompted a flood of anguish over school violence and its underlying causes. Nine recent releases and older titles from the library here at Education Week offer perspectives on school shootings from the post-Columbine era.

The Columbine School Shooting by Louise I. Gerdes (Greenhaven Press, 2012). Part of Greenhaven’s Perspectives on Modern World History series, this book attempts to explain the Columbine High School tragedy, its causes, and its aftermath to young adult readers.

Reclaiming School in the Aftermath of Trauma: Advice Based on Experience edited by Carolyn Lunsford Mears (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). Mears, a parent at Columbine, titled her EdD PhD dissertation, Experiences of Columbine Parents: Finding a Way to Tomorrow. Here she expands the scope of her research to explore how traumatic incidents from shootings to natural disasters can affect schools.

Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters by Peter Langman (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). Langman identifies and analyzes three types of young people who engage in large-scale school violence: psychopathic shooters, psychotic shooters, and traumatized shooters.

Books, Blackboards, and Bullets: School Shootings and Violence in America by Marcel Lebrun (Roman & Littlefield, 2009). An account of school violence research and preventative measures, written by an educator and former counselor.

School Crisis Case Studies, Volume Two: Before Another Shooting Occurs by Helen M. Sharp (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009). The companion title to an earlier Volume One—which addressed a broad range of violent behaviors in schools—this book focuses on school shootings and preventative measures schools can take.

Ceremonial Violence: A Psychological Explanation of School Shootings by Jonathan Fast (Overlook Press, 2008). Using five years of research into five separate shooting incidents, Fast lays out the internal and external forces acting upon young people driven to violence. In some cases, internal pressures of various kinds result in violence incidents; in others, “socialization into extreme violence” is at work.

Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings by Katherine S. Newman (Basic Books, 2004). Newman, a sociologist and administrator at Johns Hopkins University, published this book during her tenure as the dean of social science at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She argues that while incidents of school violence may seem to erupt from nowhere, their roots often run deep, and signs of their imminence can be clearly present.

There and Back Again: School Shootings as Experienced by School Leaders by Albert H. Fein (Scarecrow Press, 2003). Fein’s title is no accident: He’s used J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit as a framing narrative for this exploration of school shooting incidents and their aftermaths. Interviews with 19 school leaders close to the incidents provide much of the raw material for this book.

Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence from the National Research Council Institute of Medicine (The National Academies Press, 2002). The Columbine High School shooting prompted widespread examination of school violence throughout the late 1980s and 1990s. This book collects the National Research Council’s findings and can be downloaded in its entirety for free.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the BookMarks blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety What the Research Says A Hallmark of School Shooters: Long History of Social Rejection
New research finds that shooters in K-12 schools are more often "failed joiners" than loners.
5 min read
Butler County Sheriff Deputies stand on the scene at Madison Local Schools, in Madison Township in Butler County, Ohio, after a school shooting on Feb. 29, 2016.
Sheriff deputies were on the scene of a shooting at Madison Local Schools, in Butler County, Ohio, in 2016.
Cara Owsley/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP
School Climate & Safety 4 Myths About Suspensions That Could Hurt Students Long Term
New longitudinal research shows that longer in- and out-of-school suspensions have severe consequences for students.
5 min read
Image of a student sitting at a desk in a school hallway.
School Climate & Safety Photos The Tense and Joyous Start to the 2021 School Year, in Photos
Students are headed back to school with the threat of the Delta variant looming. How is this playing out across the country? Take a look.
School Climate & Safety Former NRA President Promotes Gun Rights at Fake Graduation Set Up by Parkland Parents
A former NRA president invited to give a commencement address to a school that doesn’t exist was set up to make a point about gun violence.
Lisa J. Huriash, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
2 min read
David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, speaks during the CPAC meeting in Washington on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2010.
David Keene, the former president of the NRA, promoted gun rights in a speech he thought was a rehearsal for a commencement address to graduating students in Las Vegas. The invitation to give the speech was a set up by Parkland parents whose son was killed in the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP