Education Week counted more school shootings in 2022 than in any calendar year since its journalists began tracking them in 2018.
Fresh conversations about school safety and gun laws started after a May 24 attack at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. A gunman killed 19 students and two teachers that day while poor communication and planning led to a delayed police response.
But the lives of students, educators, and communities were also changed by smaller-scale events that drew far fewer headlines.
Most recently, two students were killed and two others injured in a Dec. 16 shooting outside Chicago’s Benito Juarez Community Academy.
Education Week tracks school shootings as a way of recognizing that they all matter—whether or not they draw national news coverage.
Here are some key findings from the 2022 data.
First, what counts as a school shooting? At Education Week, we count incidents where at least one person, other than the individual firing the weapon, is injured by gunfire on school property when school is in session or during a school-sponsored event.
Our criteria differs from those of other organizations that also track shootings in schools, but it is clearly outlined and consistently applied so that readers can understand our methodology.
And why track school shootings? Although school shootings are statistically rare, gun violence sets off a cascade of fear and grief when it touches a school. School shootings also frequently spark debates about how to best keep students safe.
What do we know about school shootings in 2022?
1. Under Education Week’s definition, 2022 had the most school shootings in the past five years.
This year had a record number of incidents since Education Week began tracking school shootings in 2018.
2. This year had the highest number of casualties in the past five years.
The 2022 calendar year saw the highest count of both injuries and fatalities. A majority of those deaths—21 of 39—occurred in the Uvalde shooting.
3. More than half of incidents resulted in a single person killed or injured.
While many people picture a school shooting as a mass casualty, active-shooter scenario, many acts of gun violence on school grounds are more limited in scope. There were 51 incidents Education Week counted in 2022.
NOTE: The total number of incidents in 2022 was 51. However, the number of incidents in the three data points above add up to more than 51 because there are some overlapping incidents.
4. Thirteen of this year’s school shootings happened at sporting events.
School leaders often grapple with their role in keeping sports venues safe. Venues draw larger crowds to settings that are less predictable than classrooms, where students are frequently trained in emergency procedures.
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