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At present, there is no standard definition of a “school shooting.” Some resources only include “active shooter” or “mass shooting” events, which have different connotations and offer an incomplete representation of gun violence in schools.
In order to obtain a more encompassing and comprehensive representation of gun violence in schools, I offer a complete definition of a school shooting as being any shooting that occurred on or toward any school property; a school extracurricular activity; and/or school-sponsored event at any time of the day, night, or year when at least one person was killed or injured. A “school” is defined as any academic institution, including but not limited to, pre-kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high schools. It also includes colleges, universities, trade schools, and specialty schools (e.g., firearm training and missionary schools). The term, “school property” further includes school-owned or leased buildings, parking lots, bus stops, dormitories, athletic fields and courts, as well as the interior of school busses. Shootings on college campuses are also suggested for inclusion due to the ongoing presence of students and staff in dormitories, libraries, on campus grounds, at athletic and extracurricular events, etc.
Shootings involving BB or pellet guns are not included since these are not classified as firearms under federal law. Incidents in which law enforcement shot the suspect(s) before they could shoot anyone else are also not included. However, incidences involving drive-by shootings, gang related violence, stray bullets, accidental shootings, and suicides are included because a firearm was discharged on or toward a school property and/or school-sponsored event and at least one person was injured and/or killed.
I have worked to the best of my ability to ensure the information featured on this list are as accurate and objective as possible, as well as based on credible resources available online and in print. Many of the resources came from subscription-based services, such Newspapers.com, NewsBank, ProQuest, LexisNexus, and Nexus Uni. You may be able to access some of these databases for free through your public library’s website or university library’s website. Ask your librarian how to access these outstanding resources with your library card.