The US has experienced a greater number of school shootings at the start of this school year than any other year, with incidents tracked.
And a growing number of attacks, such as one at a Texas high school this week in which four people were injured, are tied to fights between young people.
Since the beginning of September, the country has experienced 64 on-campus gun incidents, with 23 responsible for the escalation of controversies, according to The Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s K-12 school shooting database.
“What we’re seeing is a massive increase in gun violence on school campuses,” said David Ridgeman, principal investigator for the K-12 school shooting database.
“As children return to school, a lot of the violence is representative of the increase in gun violence that we are seeing across the country,” he said.
More than 50 incidents have been attributed to the escalation of controversies so far in 2021, compared to 23 for the pandemic-disrupted 2020 calendar year and 49 in 2019.
Where school shootings are often thought to refer to planned attacks, such as the 1999 Columbine High School massacre or the 2018 Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting, in which gunmen indiscriminately target victims through multiple locations, the recent campus Mass shootings have been fueled by random acts of rampant violence.
Authorities say it happened Wednesday morning, when Timothy George Simpkins, an 18-year-old student at Timberview High School in Arlington, Texas, allegedly opened fire after a fight in the classroom.
According to police, a week earlier, on September 30, in Memphis, Tenn., a 13-year-old boy shot another student during a fight in the stairwell of his school.
The 13-year-old victim was also shot in the stomach in that shooting and is expected to recover. The suspect, meanwhile, fled the school grounds and later turned himself in after being searched by the police.
20 in Newport News, Va., on September 20, in which police said a 15-year-old boy pulled a gun from his waistband and fired several shots at another student as a fight broke out in their main hallway. High School.
Two students were injured: a 17-year-old boy was shot in the face and a 17-year-old girl was shot in the leg.
Ridgeman said that apart from instances where students suddenly drew firearms during fights, some of these shooting incidents have also been linked to gangs.
For example, officers blamed gang rivalry for a shooting at a South Los Angeles high school during a brawl on September 2, in which a 17-year-old student was injured.
A lawyer speaking for Simpkins, the accused Timberview gunman, tried to differentiate in a press conference Thursday that the incident was not a “standard issue school shooting.”
“There have been shootings in many schools in this country which is sad. All school shootings are tragic,” said civil rights lawyer Kim T. Cole said. “However, in this situation, it was not someone who just went out to a school and shoot and made up his mind. [and said,] ‘You know, I’m upset and I shoot everyone I see.'”
However, experts and officials say that whatever the reason for the shootings, the incidents can have traumatic effects for the students.
“These isolated incidents still have a profound impact on all students and schools,” Ridgman said.
For example, a teacher at Timberview High School detailed to The Post how her students were forced to put up barricades on their classroom doors, and how some were left in tears during the lockdown .
George Parker, the superintendent of Newport News Public Schools in Virginia, also described how upsetting the shooting was for students and staff.
Parker later said, “Just looking at the faces of our students and how scared they were in these situations, and the staff outside, “no one would want to go through these situations.”
The troubling trends emerging from K-12 school shooting database statistics parallel data created by the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety, which counted 30 incidents of gunfire on school grounds between August 1 and September 15, In which five people were killed and 23 injured.
This was the largest number recorded in the same period since the organization began tracking bullets on school grounds in 2013.
It may take years for researchers to determine why more youth are apparently bringing and firing guns on school grounds, but experts agree that the trends follow similar social patterns, Those have been attributed to a number of reasons, including the toll of the coronavirus pandemic and a surge in firearm purchases.
“We’re in that trend right now and it’s hard to come up with an explanation,” Ridgman said. “What we do know is that gun violence is on the rise on school campuses in every demographic and region.”