New report examining violence in schools contradicts conventional wisdom about school shootings

New report examining violence in schools contradicts conventional wisdom about school shootings

A new report by the Educator’s School Safety Network shows dramatic increase in school-based violence incidents, the majority of which are not active shooter events 

September 11, 2019 – A new report released today by the non-profit the Educator’s School Safety Network shows the rate of incidents of violence in U.S. schools increased by 34% for the 2018-2019 school year when compared to the previous school year. The most frequent violent incident involved false reports of an active shooter (18.4%), while actual school shootings events comprised only 6% of all violent incidents. The report also shows a slight decrease of 9.5% in threats for the past school year, but an overall increase of 46% in the number of threats directed at schools since 2016.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the most frequent incidents of violence in schools during 2018-2019 were false reports of violence or simulated attacks, which comprised 18.4% of all violent events, followed by responding to suspicious persons at 15.8%. The use or presence of guns in schools accounted for 24% of all tracked incidents. 

“It’s important to examine the wide array of violent incidents schools faced in the 2018-2019 school year that were unrelated to gun violence,” said Dr. Amy Klinger, Director of Programs at the Educator’s School Safety Network.  “Schools were most often dealing with incidents stemming from violent, aggressive behaviors by disruptive parents, trespassers, or students (without the presence of a gun) as these accounted for more than 18% of all violent events. This does not even take into account the rate of other crisis events schools must manage that are not ‘man-made’ including medical emergencies, accidents, and severe weather events.” 

“There are so many misconceptions and misinformation about threats and violence in schools,” Klinger said. “We believe it is critical to move from mere speculation on this issue to actual facts and data. Schools need training, support, and resources to deal with the ever increasing number of both violent incidents AND threats. This research provides important insights about the nature, frequency, and severity of the school safety problems schools really face.”

Dr. Klinger and her co-author Amanda Klinger,Esq.  are authors of the book Keeping Kids Students Safe Every Day that provides education-focused  recommendations for improving school safety for teachers and students. 

The findings are part of an annual report for the 2018-2019 school year released by the Educator’s School Safety Network, a national non-profit school safety organization based in Ohio. The non-profit has compiled data on threats and incidents of violence, including school-based bomb incidents, since 2014. Their research is derived from daily tracking and analysis of school-based incidents and threats of violence in the United States.  

A summary of the 2018-2019 report is available at www.eSchoolSafety.org/violence.

About Educator’s School Safety Network: The Educator’s School Safety Network is a national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing education-based school safety training, resources and technical assistance to schools. Information about the Educator’s School Safety Network  and the other resources and support they provide can be accessed at www.eSchoolSafety.org.  

About Dr. Amy Klinger: Dr. Amy Klinger, co-founder of the Educator’s School Safety Network, has 28 years of experience in public education as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and secondary levels. She is recognized as a national expert on school safety and violence prevention. Dr. Klinger is also  an Associate Professor and Department Chair in Educational Leadership at Ashland University.

About the book: At a time when schools at every level and in every community face the possibility of a crisis event, Keeping Students Safe Every Day equips leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to  make safety a top priority. In this informative and comprehensive guide, school safety experts Amy Klinger and Amanda Klinger offer significant – and sometimes surprising – statistics on school safety, dispel common misunderstandings, and provide preK-12 school leaders with the specific information they need to prepare for and effectively respond to natural disasters, accidents, or violent events.


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