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With School Shootings Rising, Educators and Gun Safety Advocates Propose Solutions

As children go back to school for the new school year, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, in collaboration with the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), released a report detailing new data about the rise of gunfire on school grounds and solutions to prevent school shootings and keep students and educators safe.

During the 2021-2022 school year, there were 193 incidents of gunfire on school grounds, nearly four times the average during these months in all other years and the highest number of incidents since Everytown began tracking these trends in 2013.

The report includes a comprehensive plan to help prevent mass shooting incidents and gun violence in American schools. The report also discusses practices that can harm and traumatize students. 

“For far too long, gun violence has been a dangerous reality in the daily lives of students and educators—from constant ‘lock down’ drills, to the unspeakable trauma that our communities experience in the aftermath of a shooting,” said Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association. While extreme politicians try to distract us until the next tragedy, parents, students, and educators are demanding real solutions and action. We’re proud to be a part of this report that provides real solutions that will make our schools the safest place in any community.”

“There are no panaceas, but the recommendations in this report include smart strategies and measurable actions we can take to protect students and staff, without deploying bad ideas like arming teachers or turning schools into hi-tech prisons,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “Together, with parents and caregivers, teachers and school staff, the AFT will continue to push for solutions and work to ensure schools are safe and welcoming places where educators want to work, parents want to send their kids, and students can truly thrive.”

Gunfire on school grounds data tracked by Everytown for Gun Safety shows that between August 1, 2021, and May 31, 2022, there were 193 incidents of gunfire at preschools and K–12 schools that left 59 people shot and killed and 138 people shot and wounded. At least six in 10 of the victims killed and four in 10 of the victims wounded were current or former students of the school where the gunfire occurred. 

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According to the report, these findings also confirm four trends about school gun violence—those discharging guns on school grounds often have a connection to the school; guns used in incidents generally come from the home, family, or friends; shooters nearly always exhibit warning signs; and gun violence in American schools has a disproportionate impact on students of color. 

Key recommendations of the report to prevent gun violence in schools include:

  • Gun Safety Policies: Enact and enforce secure firearm storage laws; pass and implement extreme risk laws; raise the age to purchase semi-automatic firearms; and require background checks on all gun sales.
  • School-Based Interventions: Foster a safe and trusting school climate; build a culture of secure gun storage; create crisis assessment/prevention programs in schools; and implement expert-endorsed security upgrades, including entry control and locks.
  • Avoid Practices That Can Harm and Traumatize Students: Armed teachers and school resource officers; student-involved shooter drills.

The full report, “How To Stop Shootings and Gun Violence in Schools: A Plan to Keep Students Safe,” is available here.