Mass Violence in Schools Media attention to school shootings has generated a misperception that schools are dangerous places. On the contrary, shootings are much more prevalent outside of schools in places such as restaurants, stores and residences. A study by Nekvasil, Cornell, & Huang at the University of Virginia using FBI homicide data examined the locations of homicides in 37 states over six years and found that schools, including colleges, are one of the safest places in the United States, compared to other loca- tions. A person is 10 times more likely to be murdered in a restaurant than in a school. This applies to shootings and mass shootings, as well as homicides in general.
Despite their statistical rarity, school shootings shock the nation. They cause widespread trauma for victims and their families, perpetrators’ families, first responders and whole communities. The fear of school shootings has led to an overemphasis on expensive school security measures; at the same time, schools have shortages of mental health professionals whose services have the potential to prevent vio- lence both in schools and in the broader community by helping troubled youth.
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