School Shootings

A school shooting is an incident in which gun violence occurs at an educational institution.

The term school shooting most commonly describes acts committed by either a student or intruders from outside the school campus. They are to be distinguished from crowd-containment shootings by law-enforcement personnel, such as the shootings at Kent State and Jackson State in the United States, or the October 6, 1976 Massacre in Thailand. They are also differentiated from other kinds of school violence, such as the mass killings of the Bath School disaster (which involved a homemade bomb rather than shooting), the Cologne school massacre (which involved a flamethrower); or terror attacks involving multiple kinds of weapons, such as the Ma'alot massacre, or the Beslan school hostage crisis in which at least 334 hostages were killed, including 186 children.

One of the most prominent school shootings was that at Columbine High School, near Littleton, Colorado. On Tuesday, April 20, 1999, students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered thirteen people (twelve students and one teacher) on the school campus before they committed suicide, for a total of fifteen deaths. 24 others were wounded. The shooting was initially planned as a bombing, followed by the shooting of survivors.

In the United States, one-on-one public-school violence, such as beatings and stabbings or gang related violence, is more common in some densely-populated areas. Inner-city or urban schools were much more likely than other schools to report serious violent crimes, with 17 percent of city principals reporting at least one serious crime compared to 11 percent of urban schools, 10 percent of rural schools, and five percent of suburban schools in the 1997 school year. However school shootings in other countries may take on more national or religious overtones, such as the Mercaz HaRav massacre.