Gun Violence in Schools

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Gun violence in schools is a serious issue that has to be addressed right now by policymakers and educators. Since 2013, there have been 11 mass shootings at schools in the United States, leaving 139 people dead and another 282 injured (Rogers, 2019). These figures do not account for the numerous school shootings that have taken place nationwide yet went unnoticed by the media. In addition, numerous parents and pupils have expressed fear and helplessness due to the frequent gunshots. This essay analyzes the factors contributing to the high gun violence rate in American schools and potential remedies. Gun violence in schools is a problem that needs to be solved by the government and educators.

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Reasons for Prevalence of Gun Violence

Easy access to firearms is one of the primary causes of gun violence in schools (Dare et al., 2019). According to estimates, there is one gun for every inhabitant in the United States. This event implies that it is pretty simple for someone to obtain a gun, even if they are not allowed to. For instance, a 19-year-old guy killed 17 people in 2018 at a high school in Parkland, Florida, using an AR-15 (Park, 2018). Despite a history of mental illness, he had lawfully acquired the pistol. The shooting may not have occurred if getting the gun had been more difficult for him. Another important factor contributing to school gun violence is mental health difficulties (Cornell, 2020; Cunningham et al., 2000). According to estimates, a mental health issue affects 20% or more of those killed by gun violence. These patients frequently have not received adequate diagnoses or care. For instance, the Parkland shooter was identified as having autism and depression but was not receiving the necessary support (Schildkraut et al., 2022). It is possible that the shooting may have been stopped if he had been receiving treatment.

Bullying also has a role in the prevalence of guns in schools. Bullied individuals have been known to avenge themselves through gun violence. For instance, two teenagers at Columbine High School in Colorado shot and killed 12 pupils and one teacher in 1999 (King & Bracy, 2019; Mosqueda et al., 2021). They had endured years of bullying, so they plotted the shooting as a retaliation. Inadequate school security may also influence gun violence (De Vito, 2019). As there is less of a barrier to entry for prospective shooters, schools without proper security measures may be more prone to encounter shootings.

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Additionally, given that nothing prevents a prospective shooter from getting a weapon into the school without being detected by metal detectors or other security measures, schools without these safeguards may be more susceptible to gun violence. Last but not least, a lack of parental participation may potentially contribute to gun violence in schools (Estrada et al., 2018). For example, uninvolved parents may be less likely to be aware of academic issues or bullying than parents who are actively engaged in their children’s lives. Additionally, parents who do not provide their kids with enough adult supervision may be more likely to have weapons in the house that are readily available to kids.

Ways to Reduce Gun Violence in Schools

Thorough and multifaceted strategies are required to address the issue of gun violence in schools. One step to lessen gun violence in schools is to increase security in and around the buildings. This plan may entail adding more police officers to the neighborhood patrols around schools, installing security guards or metal detectors at school entrances, or both. Also, the community should provide school employees with better training on spotting and handling possible threats. When there is a risk of violence, this training can assist staff members in knowing what to look for and how to react (Bulger et al., 2019; Butkus et al., 2018; Price & Khubchandani, 2019). Another strategy to lessen gun violence in schools is to work to foster a more encouraging and pleasant school atmosphere. This choice may entail fostering relationships between students and faculty members or giving students additional opportunities to participate in constructive activities.

Another idea on how to decrease gun violence in schools is encouraging kids to report any questionable activity they may observe. Additionally, staff members at the school may be made aware of possible issues; as a result, allowing them to address them before they worsen. There is also a way to lessen gun violence in schools by implementing policies and programs emphasizing early intervention and prevention. This decision may require carrying out anti-bullying initiatives or offering to counsel to students who may be in danger (Bulger et al., 2019; Butkus et al., 2018; Price & Khubchandani, 2019). Finally, a way to reduce gun violence in schools is to make mental health treatments more widely available. This scheme may necessitate making counselors accessible to students who require them or offering tools to enable students experiencing mental health problems to seek assistance.


In conclusion, there is an urgent need for educators and legislators to address the severe issue of gun violence in schools. Several factors contribute to the high gun violence rate in American schools, including easy access to weapons, mental health issues, bullying, insufficient school security, and a lack of parental involvement. Therefore, the problem of gun violence in schools must be addressed comprehensively and multi-dimensionally. The strategies that can be used to lower gun violence in schools are increased security in and around the buildings, better training for school staff, and efforts to create a more positive and welcoming school environment.

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  1. Bulger, E. M., Kuhls, D. A., Campbell, B. T., Bonne, S., Cunningham, R. M., Betz, M., Dicker, R., Ranney, M. L., Barsotti, C., Hargarten, S., Sakran, J. V., Rivara, F. P., James, T., Lamis, D., Timmerman, G., Rogers, S. O., Choucair, B., & Stewart, R. M. (2019). Proceedings from the Medical Summit on Firearm Injury Prevention: A Public Health Approach to Reduce Death and Disability in the US. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 229(4), 415-430.
  2. Butkus, R., Doherty, R., & Bornstein, S. S. (2018). Reducing Firearm Injuries and Deaths in the United States: A Position Paper From the American College of Physicians. Annals of Internal Medicine, 169(10), 704.
  3. Cornell, D. G. (2020). Threat assessment as a school violence prevention strategy. Criminology & Public Policy, 19(1), 235–252.
  4. Cunningham, P. B., Henggeler, S. W., Limber, S. P., Melton, G. B., & Nation, M. A. (2000). Patterns and Correlates of Gun Ownership Among Nonmetropolitan and Rural Middle School Students. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 29(3), 432–442.
  5. Dare, A. J., Irving, H., Guerrero-López, C. M., Watson, L. K., Kolpak, P., Reynales Shigematsu, L. M., Sanches, M., Gomez, D., Gelband, H., & Jha, P. (2019). Geospatial, racial, and educational variation in firearm mortality in the USA, Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia, 1990–2015: a comparative analysis of vital statistics data. The Lancet Public Health, 4(6), e281–e290.
  6. De Vito, K. (2019). Seeking a secure base: Gangs as attachment figures. Qualitative Social Work, 147332501985265.
  7. Estrada, J. N., Huerta, A. H., Hernandez, E., Hernandez, R. A., & Kim, S. W. (2018). Socio-Ecological Risk and Protective Factors for Youth Gang Involvement. The Wiley Handbook on Violence in Education, 185–202.
  8. King, S., & Bracy, N. L. (2019). School Security in the Post-Columbine Era: Trends, Consequences, and Future Directions. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 35(3), 274–295.
  9. Mosqueda, C. M., Heath, M. A., Cutrer-Párraga, E. A., Ridge, R. D., Jackson, A. P., & Miller, E. (2021). Analysis of 48 Hours of Television News Coverage Following the Columbine High School Shooting. School Psychology Review, 1–15.
  10. Park, M. K. (2018). Separating Fact from Fiction: The First Amendment Case for Addressing Fake News On Social Media. Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, 46, 1.
  11. Price, J. H., & Khubchandani, J. (2019). School Firearm Violence Prevention Practices and Policies: Functional or Folly? Violence and Gender, 6(3), 154–167.
  12. Rogers, M. (2019). The Bear Necessities: Good Cause Statutes and Step Zero of Second Amendment Analyses. Ohio State Law Journal, 80, 159.
  13. Schildkraut, J., Cowan, R. G., & Mosher, T. M. (2022). The Parkland Mass Shooting and the Path to Intended Violence: A Case Study of Missed Opportunities and Avenues for Future Prevention. Homicide Studies, 108876792110625.
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