School Climate & Safety

School Shootings Reach Record Level, Data Show

By Evie Blad — October 05, 2022 2 min read
A Tulsa Police officer films the area outside of the McLain High School football stadium after a shooting during a football game Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 in Tulsa, Okla. Police say a teenager was killed and another was wounded in a shooting at a high school homecoming football game in Oklahoma Friday night.
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There have been 35 school shootings that resulted in injuries or deaths so far in 2022, more than in any single year since Education Week began tracking the incidents in 2018.

With two and a half months left in the year, that surpasses the previous record of 34 shootings that Education Week tracked in all of 2021.

The record total comes as state and federal lawmakers continue to debate responses to the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers died after a gunman barged into their building.

The latest shooting occurred in Dorchester, Mass., where police say a 17-year-old student shot and injured a 17-year-old classmate in front of their high school in the morning on Oct. 4.

Education Week’s school shooting tracker counts 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.

Events on the tracker often differ from the mass active shooter attacks that are typically the focus of school safety debates. School-sponsored events could include evening activities, like football games, and injured persons may or may not be students.

In the second-most-recent incident, for example, a 17-year-old student was killed and three people—another 17-year-old boy, a 20-year-old woman, and a 9-year-old girl—were wounded in a shooting outside a stadium at a high school football homecoming game Sept. 30 in Tulsa, Okla.

Tallying the rise in school shooting incidents

Other organizations use varying criteria to determine what constitutes a school shooting, some narrower and some broader than Education Week’s. But various measures show the incidents have increased this year.

In July, the U.S. Department of Education reported 93 school shootings with injuries in the 2020-21 school year, the most in a school year since 2000–01. The agency counts “incidents in which a gun is brandished or fired on school property or a bullet hits school property for any reason, regardless of the number of victims, time of day, day of the week, or reason.”

School shootings—however they are defined and counted—almost always stir up debates about what, if anything, could be done to prevent such violence.

After the Uvalde shooting, Texas and federal lawmakers fell into familiar partisan camps, with Democrats floating proposals about raising the minimum purchasing age for firearms or restricting sales of powerful rifles and Republicans calling for more police and security measures in school buildings.

Congress later passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which President Joe Biden signed in June. It included new gun-sale restrictions and new funding for school mental health programs.

In a national poll of educators conducted by the EdWeek Research Center June 8-14, weeks after the Uvalde shooting, more educators supported new gun safety measures—like stronger background checksand mental health resources—than “hardening schools” with added security features, arming school staff, or increasing funding for school police.

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