Mass Shooting Spree Comes at Terrifying Time for Schools
By Shane Croucher
A s children return to the classroom after a year of home learning due to the pandemic, schools will settle back into their old routines; timetables, extracurricular clubs, homework assignments, sports, and—of course—the morbid necessity of active shooter drills.
They do so after a run of high-profile mass shootings—generally defined as four or more victims—including during a home welfare check in Boone, North Carolina; in traffic congestion at Shreveport, Louisiana; at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana; at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado; and at spas in Atlanta, Georgia, among many others.
The past year has also seen record gun sales in the U.S., increasing the access to firearms in the homes of many children. And research shows COVID lockdowns have wreaked an appalling toll on youth mental health.
"To say I'm worried about the safety of our schools as they return to class is an understatement," Shannon Watts, founder of the Moms Demand Action campaign, told Newsweek.
It's no surprise that the pandemic coincided with a lull in school shooting incidents. Education Week's School Shooting Tracker recorded 10 incidents and three deaths, two of them children, in 2020. Nine people were injured.
It compares to 25 incidents in 2019, a 60 percent fall, including eight deaths—five of them children—and 43 injuries. In 2018, there were 24 incidents leading to 35 people killed—among them 28 students—and 79 injuries. This was the year the tracker started.
The last school mass shooting by a student to occur before the pandemic took place on November 14, 2019, at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California.