These School Shooting Statistics Are Almost Too Depressing to Believe

In light of the recent Parkland, Florida, school shooting in which 17 people died, it’s time to take a hard look at some statistics. These statistics about school shootings will likely shock — and depress — you, but the story needs to be told.

There have been many rumors going around about school shootings, so it’s time to look at some cold, hard facts. Things might be worse — or better — than you thought.

1. Going back in time

Students sit quietly and wait for their teacher

Between July 2012 and June 2013, 31 students died in school shootings. | Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Thirty-one students between the ages of 5 and 18 died in school shootings between July 2012 and June 2013, according to the Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2015 study. The students were killed either while they were at school or traveling to or from school. Translation: Those stats meant that an American student had a less than one in a million chance of being killed in a mass shooting.

Next: A glimmer of hope?

2. Good news

a student raises her hand

The percentage of students who carried a weapon onto school grounds has dropped. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The National Center for Education Statistics conducted a report in 2016. According to the report, 12% of students carried a weapon onto school grounds in the last 30 days in 1993. That number plunged to 4% in 2015.

Next: Warning signals

3. Mass shooters that have warned others

Yellow sticky notes and pencil

Suspects might leave a note prior to the event. | DGrad/iStock/Getty Images

The CDC also issued a study on gun violence in schools. It found that roughly 50% of those who commit a school shooting crime give some type of warning signal. The warning can be in the form of a threat or leaving a note prior to the event.

Next: The reasons

4. This is why school shooters do what they do 

students walk to safety in Parkland, Florida

The motivations vary. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Collin County Community College in McKinney, Texas, compiled information from the Safe School Initiative Report; “School Violence Threat Management” by Kris Mohandie; and “The School Shooter: A Threat Assessment Perspective” by Mary Ellen O’Toole. Its information revealed that shooters cite various reasons for their actions. Here’s how their motivations shake out:

  • 24% motivated by desire for attention or recognition
  • 27% motivated by suicide or desperation
  • 34% motivated by attempt to solve a problem
  • 54% had multiple motives
  • 61% motivated by desire for revenge
  • 75% felt bullied/persecuted/threatened by others

Next: Some of these stats might surprise you.

5. More interesting facts about mass shooters

Roughly 95% of attackers were current students. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

According to Collin County Community College, there are some other disturbing stats about school shootings. Here they are:

  • 27% of attackers exhibited interest in violent movies
  • 37% of attackers exhibited interest in violence in their own writings, poems, essays, and journal entries
  • 59% of attacks occurred during the school day
  • 63% of attackers had a known history of weapons use
  • 68% acquired the weapon used from their own home or that of a relative
  • 93% of attackers engaged in some behavior prior to the attack that caused others to be concerned
  • 93% of attackers planned out the attack in advance
  • 95% of attackers were current students

Next: People know.

6. A shocking percentage of people know about what will happen

people hug outside of school shooting scene

In roughly 80% of the shootings, at least one person knew about the attacker’s plans. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Collin County Community College also found that for at least 80% of school shootings, at least one person had information about the attacker planning or thinking about doing it. And nearly two-thirds of those people the person who had the information was the shooter’s friend, schoolmate, sibling, or peer— all of whom failed to report what they knew.

Next: Gun safety

7. Too many children have access to unlocked guns

Guns on wall

Many young people can access an unlocked gun at home. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

According to data from Pew Research Center’s gun ownership surveys, many young people can access unlocked guns right at home. The research shoes that only 54% of gun owners with children under 18 say they lock up their firearms. Fact: 14 states and the District of Columbia have laws that make people criminally liable who store guns at home and “reasonably should know” that they’re accessible to children.

Next: Fake news

8. Bogus stats make things worse

Anti-gun demonstrators protest outside DSA Inc

Know the truth behind the numbers. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

According to USA Today, many news outlets reported there have been 18 school shootings so far in 2018. And USA Today says that is not true — and Gun Safety, a gun-control advocacy group, is responsible for spreading it. USA Today points out that making things worse in this arena does nothing but undermine efforts to address parents’ real concerns as well as civil rights advocates’ desire to protect the Bill of Rights

Read more: 1 Teacher Has a Brilliant Idea for Preventing Future School Shootings 

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