Historical Examination of United States Intentional Mass School Shootings in the 20th and 21st Centuries: Implications for Students, Schools, and Society
The deadliest U.S. school shooting to date, occurring on February 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida serves as a powerful reminder that school violence is ever present. Addressing school violence, however, has been an elusive endeavor. The purpose of this review is to provide a historical examination of United States intentional mass school shootings in the 20th and 21st centuries. In addition, implications for students, schools, and society are discussed in light of policy and legislative initiatives as well as school-based prevention and intervention tiered models of support, such as positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS).
KeywordsShooting Guns Violence Schools PBIS Mental health
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Adame, T. (2015). A school shooting in Goddard, 30 years later. The Wichita Eagle. http://www.kansas.com/news/local/crime/article8073096.html.
- American Psychological Association (2018). Threat assessment in action. http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/02/cover-threat.aspx.
- Anchorage Daily News (2017). What set off Evan Ramsey? Alaska’s only school shooter talks about what happened 20 years ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIQt9Jdp94Q.
- Associated Press (2018). National school walkout: thousands protest against gun violence across the U.S. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/14/us/school-walkout.html.
- Associated Press (2010). School shooter Michael Carneal recalls delusions. WDRB. http://www.wdrb.com/story/13279449/school-shooter-michael-carneal-discusses-delusions.
- Associated Press (1998). Student guns down science teacher chaperoning school dance. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/04/26/us/student-guns-down-science-teacher-chaperoning-school-dance.html.
- Associated Press (1993). 4 students shot; motive is unclear. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1993/09/19/us/4-students-shot-motive-is-unclear.html.
- Associated Press (1986). Failing grade is linked to shooting of teacher. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1986/12/06/us/failing-grade-is-linked-to-shooting-of-teacher.html.
- Astor, R.A., Bear, G.G., Bradshaw, C.P., Cornell, D.G., Espelage, D.L., Flannery, D., et al. (2018). Call for action to prevent gun violence in the United States of America. https://curry.virginia.edu/sites/default/files/projects/Call%20for%20Action%20FINAL%20for%20DISSEMINATION%202-28-18-3-5-18%20Corrections_422pm.pdf.
- Bennett, P. (2012). The killer at Thurston High: fourteen years later, looking back at a school shooting. PBS: Frontline. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/fourteen-years-later-looking-back-at-a-school-shooting/.
- Berman, M. (2018). Parkland, Fla., shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz arraigned after prosecutors say they will seek death penalty. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/03/14/parkland-shooting-suspect-nikolas-cruz-to-be-arraigned-after-prosecutors-say-they-will-seek-death-penalty/?utm_term=.2f3f718bbe2b.
- BieryGolick, K. (2018). A school shooter, in his own words: “I wasn’t wanted by anyone.’ USA Today. https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2018/02/23/school-shooter-his-own-words-wasnt-wanted-anyone/360102002/.
- Bradshaw, C. P., Mitchell, M. M., & Leaf, P. J. (2010). Examining the effects of school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports on student outcomes: results from a randomized controlled effectiveness trial in elementary schools. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 12, 133–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bradshaw, C.P., Waasdorp, T.E., & Leaf, P.J. (2012). Effects of school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports on child behavior problems and adjustment. Pediatrics, 130, e1136–e1145.Google Scholar
- Bult, L. (2016). The two men responsible for 1998 Jonesboro, Ark. shooting immediately tried to get guns after they got out of prison. New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/jonesboro-arkansas-shooters-guns-prison-article-1.2534820.
- Caniglia, J. (2014). From pot to Pokemon: Prison records describe T.J. Lane’s time behind bars before escape. The Plain Dealer. http://www.cleveland.com/court-justice/index.ssf/2014/09/from_pot_to_pokemon_prison_rec.html.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016). Fact Sheet: Understanding school violence. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/school_violence_fact_sheet-a.pdf.
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (2008a). School-associated student homicides: United States, 1992-2006. Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, 57, 33–36. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5702a1.htm.
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (2008b). Youth risk behavior surveillance: United States, 2007. Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, 57, 1–131. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5704a1.htm.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017). Web-based Inquiry Statistics Query and Reporting System. https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html.
- Cliffords Law Center (2018). Guns in schools. http://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/guns-in-public/guns-in-schools/.
- Daily Alta California (1890, April). Shot by a schoolboy. https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=DAC18900425.2.68.
- Daly, M. (2014). The first modern school shooter feels responsible for the rest. The Daily Beast. https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-first-modern-school-shooter-feels-responsible-for-the-rest.
- Dickey, F. (2013). Killer recounts Santana High shooting. The San Diego Union Tribune. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/columnists/sdut-charles-andy-williams-santana-high-school-shooting-2013may10-htmlstory.html.
- Emmons, M., & Richman, J. (2016). Stockton shooting: 25 years later, city can’t forget its worst day. The Mercury News. https://www.mercurynews.com/2014/01/16/stockton-shooting-25-years-later-city-cant-forget-its-worst-day/.
- Fallis, D.S., Grimaldi, J.V., Horwitz, S., & Thompson, S.W. (2011). About the project: The hidden life of guns. Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/22/AR2011012204243.html.
- Finn, P., & McDevitt, J. (2005). National assessment of school resource officer programs: Final project report. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.Google Scholar
- Follman, M., Lurie, J., Lee, J., & West, J. (2015). The true cost of gun violence in America. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/true-cost-of-gun-violence-in-america.
- Folmer, K., Singh, N., & Clarke, S. (2013). Amish school shooter’s widow, Marie Monville, speaks out. ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/US/amish-school-shooters-widow-marie-monville-remembers-tragedy/story?id=20417790.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI]. (2005). Serial murder: Multidisciplinary perspectives forinvestigators. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice. https://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/serial-murder/serial-murder-july-2008-pdf.Google Scholar
- Geranios, N.K. (2017a). Victim told suspect in Washington school shooting: I knew you would ‘shoot up the school.’ Chicago Tribune. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-washington-school-shooting-20170914-story.html.
- Geranios, N.K. (2017b). Barry Loukaitis. Moses Lake school shooter, breaks silence with apology. The Seattle Times. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/barry-loukaitis-moses-lake-school-shooter-apologizes-in-1st-remarks/.
- Johnson, K., & Dewan, S. (2014). Tangled portrait of a student emerges in Washington shooting. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/us/contrasting-portraits-emerge-of-jaylen-ray-fryberg-shooter-at-washington-school.html.
- Katsiyannis, A., Whitford, D.K., & Ennis, R. (2018). Firearm violence across the lifespan: relevance and theoretical impact on child and adolescent educational prospects. Journal of Child and Family Studies, online first. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1035-2.
- Kern, L., George, M. P., & Weist, M. (2016). Step-by-step support for students with emotional and behavioral problems: prevention and intervention strategies. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.Google Scholar
- Kern, L., Mathur, S.R., Albrecht, S.F., Poland, S., Rozalski, M., & Skiba, R. (2017). Recommendations for school-based mental health services. Behavioral Disorders, 43, 223–226. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-017-9216-5.
- Kohn, D. (2001). What really happened at Columbine? CBS News: 60min. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-really-happened-at-columbine/.
- Knapp, A. (2012). S.C. mom recalls the horror, guilt 24 years ago, her son shot and killed 2 young girls at school. The Post and Courier. https://www.postandcourier.com/archives/s-c-mom-recalls-the-horror-guilt-years-ago-her/article_f5ab6083-392a-5878-b084-fb4b6db08cda.html.
- Lane, K. L., Menzies, H. M., Oakes, W. P., & Kalberg, J. R. (2012). Systematic screenings of behavior to support instruction: From preschool to high school. New York, NY: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Lane, K. L., Oakes, W. P., & Menzies, H. M. (2010). Systematic screenings to prevent the development of learning and behavior problems: Considerations for practitioners, researchers, and policy makers. Journal of Disabilities Policy Studies, 21, 160–172. https://doi.org/10.1177/1044207310379123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lemieux, F. (2014). Effect of gun culture and firearm laws on firearm violence and mass shootings in the United States: a multi-level quantitative analysis. International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences, 9(1), 74–93.Google Scholar
- Lindsey, R. (1984). Girl killed, 11 shot at school on coast; suspect found dead. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1984/02/25/us/girl-killed-11-shot-at-school-on-coast-suspect-found-dead.html.
- Luery, M. (2017). 25 years later: Survivors of NorCal school shooting remember tragedy. KCRA. http://www.kcra.com/article/25-years-later-survivors-of-norcal-school-shooting-remember-tragedy/9589885.
- Magg, C. (2007). Short but troubled life ended in shooting and suicide. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/12/us/12cleveland.html.
- Mayo, N. (2018). Hearing for Jesse Osborne, teen accused in Townville school shooting, to begin next week. Independent Mail. https://www.independentmail.com/story/news/crime/2018/02/08/hearing-jesse-osborne-teen-accused-townville-school-shooting-begin-next-week/308439002/.
- McCoppin, R., & Berger, S. (2013). 25 years—and a surge in school violence—since Laurie Dann shootings. Chicago Tribune. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-05-19/news/ct-met-laurie-dann-25-years-later-20130519_1_school-violence-hubbard-woods-school-school-shootings.
- Miller, T. R. (2012). The cost of firearm violence. Calverton, MD: Children’s Safety Network. www.childrenssafetynetwork.org/publications/cost-firearm-violenceGoogle Scholar
- Mitchell, J. (2016). Pearl High School shooter Luke Woodham wants parole. The Clarion Ledger. https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2016/05/25/luke-woodham-wants-parole/32625191/.
- Mitchell, R.A. (1996). 10 years later, Cokeville just says: Let us be. Deseret News. https://www.deseretnews.com/article/489528/10-YEARS-LATER-COKEVILLE-JUST-SAYS-LET-US-BE.html.
- Musu-Gillette, L., Zhang, A., Wang, K., Zhang, J., & Oudekerk, B.A. (2017). Indicators of school crime and safety: 2016 (NCES 2017-064/NCJ 250650). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.Google Scholar
- National Association of School Resource Officers (n.d.). Frequently asked questions. https://nasro.org/frequently-asked-questions/.
- National Ctr for the Analysis of Violent Crime (2008). Serial murder: multidisciplinary perspectives for investigators. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.Google Scholar
- National Research Council (2005). Firearms and violence: a critical review. Committee on Law and Justice, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://www.nap.edu/read/10881/chapter/1#ii.
- New York Times (1853). Serious case of shooting. https://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9A0DE0DD1131E13BBC4B53DFB7678388649FDE.
- O’Donnell, P. (2014). Twenty years ago today: gunman opens fire at Wickliffe Middle School, killing one and wounding four. The Plain Dealer. http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2014/11/twenty_years_ago_today_gunman.html.
- Queen, A. (2016). TJ Solomon, Heritage High School shooter, released after 17 years. The Citizen. http://www.rockdalenewtoncitizen.com/news/local/tj-solomon-heritage-high-school-shooter-released-after-years/article_66508783-e652-5f3c-94c3-acaa6164f3ee.html.
- Ribbing, M. (1999). Fatal junior high shooting still haunts 16 years later. http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1999-05-02/topic/9905040373_1_senti-firecracker-beneath.
- Roberts, J. (2005). Troubled life of Minnesota shooter. CBS News. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/troubled-life-of-minnesota-shooter/.
- Sayers, J., & Wolfson, A. (2018). Gabe Parker saw Marshall County school shooting as an experiment, officer says. Courier Journal. https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/2018/03/07/marshall-county-school-shooting-gabe-parker-experiment-motive/403035002/.
- Sharp, T. (1998). Teenage passion turns deadly at Tennessee school. Daily News, Associated Press. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=ivoaAAAAIBAJ&pg=6820,3064789.
- Texeira, E., Krikorian, G., & Martelle, S. (2001). 5 hurt in gunfire at high school near San Diego; student is held. Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2001/mar/23/news/mn-41660.
- The White House (2013a). Progress report on the president’s executive actions to reduce gun violence, http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/exec_actions_progress_report_final.pdf.
- The White House (2013b). Now is the time to do something about gun violence. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/node/193271.
- Vogel, S., Horwitz, S., & Fahrenthold, D.A. (2012). Sandy Hook Elementary shooting leaves 28 dead, law enforcement sources say. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sandy-hook-elementary-school-shooting-leaves-students-staff-dead/2012/12/14/24334570-461e-11e2-8e70-e1993528222d_story.html?utm_term=.32a2c17fd79c.
- Vossekuil, B., Fein, R., Reddy, M., Borum, R., & Modzeleski, W. (2004). The final report and findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the prevention of school attacks in the United States. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.Google Scholar
- Walton, R. (2005). Seth Trickey’s release final, judge declares. Tulsa World. http://www.tulsaworld.com/archives/seth-trickey-s-release-final-judge-declares/article_55d68afa-e3c4-54f4-be09-9ec128f7b662.html.
- Williams, J. (2017). After 72 years, notorious South Pasadena school shootings still resonate with survivors. Pasadena Star-News. https://www.pasadenastarnews.com/2012/09/15/after-72-years-notorious-south-pasadena-school-shootings-still-resonate-with-survivors/.
- Wintemute, G.J. (2008). Guns, fear, the constitution, and the public’s health. New England Journal of Medicine 358, 421–1424.Google Scholar
- Zhang, A., Musu-Gillette, L., & Oudekerk, B. A. (2016). Indicators of school crime and safety: 2015 (NCES 2016-079/NCJ 249758). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.Google Scholar