School Climate & Safety Report Roundup

Student Well-Being

By The Associated Press — September 12, 2017 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
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.
Teaching Webinar
Challenging the Stigma: Emotions and STEM
STEM isn't just equations and logic. Join this webinar and discover how emotions fuel innovation, creativity, & problem-solving in STEM!
Content provided by Project Lead The Way
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.
Professional Development Webinar
Leveraging Student Voice for Teacher Retention & Development
Join our webinar on using student feedback to improve teacher performance, retention & student achievement.
Content provided by Panorama Education

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 What Do Restorative Practices Look Like in Schools?
Such practices teach students how to resolve disputes amicably, own their actions, and be empathetic and forgiving.
9 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
School Climate & Safety School Dress Codes Often Target Girls. What Happens When Male Teachers Have to Enforce Them?
Male teachers say the task can put them in a risky and uncomfortable position.
11 min read
Image of articles of clothing on a coat hook outside a school entrance.
Laura Baker/Education Week via Canva
School Climate & Safety Are School Buses Safe? An Expert Explains
A perennial concern is getting new attention.
4 min read
Photo of rescue workers and turned over school bus.
Brandy Taylor / iStock / Getty Images Plus
School Climate & Safety Jury Finds Michigan School Shooter’s Mother Guilty of Manslaughter
Jennifer Crumbley was accused of failing to secure a gun and ammunition at home and failing to get help for her son's mental health.
2 min read
Jennifer Crumbley arrives in court on Feb. 5, 2024 in Pontiac, Mich.
Jennifer Crumbley arrives in court on Feb. 5, 2024 in Pontiac, Mich.
Carlos Osorio/AP