A friend of ours recently considered taking her little girl out of school for fear of gun violence. That got me to thinking, just how dangerous are our schools…really?
Statistics say school violence is still relatively rare. There’s an estimated 75 million school age children in the USA, yet shooting deaths make up less than 1-2% of the total violent deaths. And violent deaths, including suicides, make up far less. For example there were only 17 homicide deaths in 2009-10 or .0027% of the total population. You have roughly two times a greater chance of being struck by lightening. Lightening strikes are 1 in a million.
Here are some interesting findings from a study done on school violence:
- Most school-associated violent deaths occur during transition times – immediately before and after the school day and during lunch.
- Violent deaths are more likely to occur at the start of each semester.
- Nearly 50 percent of homicide perpetrators gave some type of warning signal, such as making a threat or leaving a note, prior to the event.
- Firearms used in school-associated homicides and suicides came primarily from the perpetrator’s home or from friends or relatives.
- Homicide is the second leading cause of death among youth aged 5-18. Data from this study indicate that less than 2% of these deaths happen on school grounds or on the way to or from school. These findings underscore the importance of preventing violence at school as well as in communities.