As we struggle as a nation to once again find answers to the disturbing and horrific trend of mass school shootings, a lot of hyperbole is being thrown around that schools are more dangerous for our children than ever before.
“It’s been happening everywhere,” said a very shaken Paige Curry, interviewed by the media shortly after the shooting at her high school in Santa Fe, Texas on Friday. “I was thinking it was going to happen eventually.”
This statement shook many concerned parents and citizens to their core: are our children expecting to be killed at school now?
It is easy to understand why Ms. Curry thinks this way, considering the way we as a nation react to school shootings. We understandably tend to stop everything and focus on the horrific crime, wondering how on earth we could let this continue to happen.
While the images of a heartbroken community paying homage to the young victims of the latest shooting is evocative and tragic, and we certainly need to address the root cause of these shootings as a nation, their prevalence is not necessarily indicative of an overall trend, The Washington Times reports.
While Secretary of Education under Obama, Arne Duncan, dramatically suggested this week a nationwide boycott of schools until “common sense gun reform” is passed, statistics show this isn’t necessarily the best approach to keeping children safe from homicide.
“If safety is the goal, then keeping children in school is likely better than the boycott Mr. Duncan is proposing,” The Washington Times’ David Sherfinski explains. “The National Center for Education Statistics, looking at numbers from the 2014-2015 school year, found that less than 2 percent of homicides involving school-age children occurred at school.”
“From 1992 to 2015, the total was less than 3 percent, the center found,” he continues, adding “Children spend more than 13 percent of their time at school.”
The narrative on the left, is, of course, rife with misperceptions about just how unsafe schools are in the wake of a trend of mass school shootings. Simple common sense dictates that, as tragic as it is, less than two dozen students and teachers killed in a handful of annual incidents does not in any way indicate our schoolchildren are at serious risk of being killed in a mass shooting on their school campus.
In fact, The Washington Post reports, “the statistical likelihood of any given public school student being killed by a gun, in school, on any given day since 1999 was roughly 1 in 614,000,000. And since the 1990s, shootings at schools have been getting less common.”
So perhaps rather than rely on dramatic, fear-mongering rhetoric, we need to look at the deeper reasons behind school shootings and a culture of death and violence that drives these young men to commit these acts. However rare, it’s hard to imagine school shootings will end any time soon, and however safe our schools already are, securing them further would be a very good place to start.
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