School Climate & Safety Report Roundup

Student Well-Being

By The Associated Press — September 12, 2017 2 min read

An Associated Press and USA Today Network analysis of Gun Violence Archive data—gathered from media reports and police press releases, and covering a 3½-year period through June of this year—reveals that aside from Chicago, smaller cities lead the country in the rate of shootings among people younger than 18.

While most of the violence occurs off-campus, students nonetheless are affected. They can be injured or killed walking to and from school, waiting for the school bus, attending sporting events, sitting outside doing their homework—or just thinking about what may lie around the corner.

Of the 10 cities with the highest rates of teenage shootings, most have populations of fewer than 250,000 and were nearly all similar in size. Among them are Savannah, Ga.; Trenton, N.J.; Syracuse, N.Y., Fort Myers, Fla.; and Richmond, Va. Chicago is the lone large-population city high on the list.

Several other smaller and mid-sized cities also showed high levels of teenage gun violence, but the rates began to level out after the top six.

Experts and officials cite such contributing factors as:

Poverty and a sense of hopelessness in the most violent neighborhoods. Syracuse, a university town that once cranked out air conditioners and televisions, now has a poverty rate of 35 percent.

Deep divisions. While Savannah’s antebellum mansions, gnarled live oaks, and marble monuments to war heroes drew more than 13 million visitors last year, away from the picture-postcard oasis of southern charm, the scenery quickly shifts to decaying neighborhoods, abject poverty, and deadly violence.

Size. In tightly packed neighborhoods, insults and perceived insults ricochet like shots in an echo chamber. One shooting inevitably leads to speculation about who will be targeted next.

Social media. It can accelerate the threats, and the danger. Teenagers whose brains are years from fully maturing are roaming the streets with a gun in one pocket and a smartphone in the other.

In Wilmington, which has the highest rate, data show that roughly 3 out of every 1,000 adolescents are injured or killed annually from gun violence. That is almost twice the rate reported from Chicago and just over nine times the national average as reported for 2015 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The news organizations sought to measure teenage gun violence in America’s cities because it is something the federal government does not track on a regular and comprehensive basis.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the September 13, 2017 edition of Education Week as Student Well-Being

Events

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
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Advance Educational Equity
Schools are welcoming students back into buildings for full-time in-person instruction in a few short weeks and now is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and systems to build
Content provided by PowerMyLearning
Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn
Professional Development Webinar Expand Digital Learning by Expanding Teacher Training
This discussion will examine how things have changed and offer guidance on smart, cost-effective ways to expand digital learning efforts and train teachers to maximize the use of new technologies for learning.

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 )