THURSDAY, Jan. 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) — School shootings have become much deadlier in recent decades, a new government report shows.
And the body counts have risen even more sharply in the past few years, the researchers noted.
Between 2016 and 2018, eight multiple-victim shootings claimed the lives of 31 kids at primary, middle and high schools in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
By comparison, 90 kids died in 30 multiple-victim homicides at school during the previous two decades, between July 1994 and June 2016, the data showed.
The murder of 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and the shooting of 10 people at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, are two of the most recent examples of escalating violence. Both occurred in 2018.
Overall, about 1 in 5 victims of school-related homicides died in a multiple-victim incident between 1994 and 2016, even though more than 90 percent of murders at school involved just one victim, the researchers noted.
Firearms were used in 95 percent of multiple-victim homicides in school settings between 1994 and 2018, accounting for 115 murders. By comparison, guns were used in about 63 percent of single-victim murders at school, resulting in 247 deaths, the study reports.
The numbers run counter to the recent school safety report issued under U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, “where she really refused to engage with the idea that guns play a role in any of this,” said Kyleanne Hunter, vice president of programs at the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
The data show that multiple-victim school shootings come in waves that coincide with lapses in national assault weapon bans, Hunter said.
Weapons like the AR-15 rifle used in Parkland “were designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible. While this was good for military operations in Vietnam, it’s also a chosen weapon of many mass shooters and school shooters,” Hunter said.
“The ability to engage in multiple homicides is very closely correlated to when assault weapon bans lapse, and that’s something we need to have more open and honest conversations about,” she said.