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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

How many school shootings? We don’t know

Fifth grade students participated in an active-shooter drill at Forest Hills Community Learning Center in Akron, Ohio in 2017. Photo: Angelo Merendino/ Education Week

More than two-thirds of school shootings reported by the U.S. Education Department “never happened,” reports NPR.

This spring the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, “nearly 240 schools … reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting.” . . . We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports. In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn’t confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn’t meet the government’s parameters for a shooting. About a quarter of schools didn’t respond to our inquiries.

The Education Department blamed faulty reporting by school districts. One official in a district that reported 26 shootings instead of 0, said, “I think someone pressed the wrong button.”

“Districts are spending millions of dollars to ‘harden’ schools with new security measures and equipment,” reports Anya Kamenetz. “Children are spending class time on active-shooter drills and their parents are buying bulletproof backpacks.”

Parents and children are more fearful, reports Gallup.

Shouldn’t we have accurate data on what’s really happening?

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