Gun Violence and School Safety in American Schools

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Educational Research and Administration


Sadly, violence in our schools is a reality of both our present and our past. Agnich (2014) found that the Southern region of the United States has the highest prevalence of incidents, that 70% of the incidents involved firearms, most often involved a high school, and has significant discrepancies between urban and suburban settings. Eadens, Labat, Papa, Eadens, Labat (2016) found that although Mississippi legislators were proposing legislation that armed teachers, 61% of Mississippi principals surveyed were against such a practice. Some states’ legislation gives the school authority to designate a duly authorized concealed weapon carrier in the school.

Other advanced countries have utilized gun control legislation with significant decreases in the numbers of people dying from mass shootings. Too often, schools are using zero tolerance policies and continue to spend scarce resources on armed guards and other fortification efforts. Instead, resources should be directed towards school counselors and the development of threat assessment teams. Media also plays a tremendous role in giving shooters notoriety and encouraging dangerous copycat behavior. Changing the culture from one of reaction to one of intervention has the potential to change the culture and save lives.

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The Wiley Handbook of Educational Policy

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