Three Universities Launch National Database to Track School Shootings

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Students at Tam High School in Mill Valley, CA organized a vigil Sunday for victims of the Florida shooting. Photo by Fabrice Florin via Flickr.

Three universities have created a national, open-source data base to track school shootings and develop strategies for countering them.

The partnership between John Jay College, the University of Texas at Dallas and Michigan State University, will track fatal shooting attacks that targeted K-12 students or teachers, but also include cases that resulted in injuries but no deaths; domestic violence; workplace violence; as well as suicides on school grounds involving a firearm.

Joshua Freilich

Prof. Joshua Freilich

“The dearth of empirical data on school violence in the United States and the almost complete absence of quantitative data on perpetrators and incidents will be remedied by the production of this database and the analysis of data on the risk factors of school shootings,” said Professor Joshua Freilich, the principal investigator of the project and a member of the Department of Criminal Justice at John Jay College, said Tuesday.

The first-of-its-kind project is supported by a grant from the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ) Comprehensive School Safety Initiative, which aims to provide a knowledge base about the root causes of school violence, as well as assess strategies for increasing school safety.

“At this crucial time in our national discussion on school violence, John Jay College is proud to be at the forefront of academic research that will support local, state and national efforts to tackle this problem with evidence-based policies and interventions,” said Karol V. Mason, President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice.“

The database will include data about all publicly known school shootings that resulted in at least one injury from 1990 to December 31st, 2016.

The database will be made public in the spring of 2019.

The major objectives of the project include:

  • documenting the nature of the problem and clarifying the types of shooting incidents occurring in schools;
  • providing a “comprehensive understanding of the perpetrators of school shootings and test causal factors to assess if mass and non-mass shootings are comparable”; and
  • comparing incidents that involved fatal and nonfatal shooting, with a view to “identify intervention points that could be used to reduce the harm caused by shootings.”

See also: Trump Seeks Shutdown of School Safety Studies.

A release explaining the project can be downloaded here.

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