School Climate & Safety

Girls Seen to Help Avert Violence

May 17, 2005 1 min read

Girls appear to be much more helpful than boys in alerting officials to potential school shootings, concludes a recent analysis.

The analysis was conducted by James P. McGee, the director of forensic-psychology services for Gavin De Becker & Associates, a Studio City, Calif.-based law firm. He is also the co-author of a 1998 report titled “The Classroom Avenger,” which profiled the typical characteristics of school shooters.

The new analysis—titled “Factors Associated with Averted School Shootings”—reviewed 20 potential school shootings that were averted between 1998 and 2005. Mr. McGee found that in 18 of those incidents, girls were the ones who had turned in students planning violence at school. All the potential shooters in those incidents were boys.

“Girls are more into good citizenship,” Mr. McGee said. “I think there’s increased maturity, but the socialization of boys and girls is also very different.”

That socialization appears to make boys feel like snitches if they tell on a friend, but allows girls to more openly seek out adults with their concerns, he said.

The analysis also found that recently averted school shootings were more likely to have multiple co-conspirators, as opposed to prior shooting plots, which tended to involve one student.

“Classroom shootings are evolutionary crimes,” said Mr. McGee, noting that the incidents appear to be getting more complex and are tending to involve more people.

Of the 20 incidents he reviewed, more than half had multiple players, he said.

The original report, which reviewed school shootings nationwide in the 1990s, found that school shooters were likely to be introverted, adolescent boys who live in rural or suburban areas.

Beyond those characteristics, it also found that the teenagers who plotted violent attacks on schools tended to be depressed or suicidal loners or individuals who were part of an alienated social group that had been rejected by the general student body.

“This is a drama that plays out over time,” Mr. McGee said.

Related Tags:

Events

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
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.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive
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.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Embracing Student Engagement: The Pathway to Post-Pandemic Learning
As schools emerge from remote learning, educators are understandably worried about content and skills that students would otherwise have learned under normal circumstances. This raises the very real possibility that children will face endless hours
Content provided by Newsela

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 Opinion The Police-Free Schools Movement Made Headway. Has It Lost Momentum?
Removing officers from school hallways plays just one small part in taking down the school policing system.
Judith Browne Dianis
4 min read
Image of lights on police cruiser
Getty
School Climate & Safety Spotlight Spotlight on Safe Reopening
In this Spotlight, review how your district can strategically apply its funding, and how to help students safely bounce back, plus more.

School Climate & Safety Video A Year of Activism: Students Reflect on Their Fight for Racial Justice at School
Education Week talks to three students about their year of racial justice activism, what they learned, and where they are headed next.
4 min read
Tay Andwerson, front center, Denver School Board at-large director, leads demonstrators through Civic Center Park on a march to City Park to call for more oversight of the police Sunday, June 7, 2020, in Denver.
Tay Andwerson, front center, Denver School Board at-large director, leads demonstrators through Civic Center Park on a march to City Park to call for more oversight of the police Sunday, June 7, 2020, in Denver.
David Zalubowski/AP
School Climate & Safety Interactive Which Districts Have Cut School Policing Programs?
Which districts have taken steps to reduce their school policing programs or eliminate SRO positions? And what do those districts' demographics look like? Find out with Education Week's new interactive database.
A police officer walks down a hall inside a school
Collage by Vanessa Solis/Education Week (images: Michael Blann/Digital/Vision; Kristen Prahl/iStock/Getty Images Plus )