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Violence and School Shootings


Multiple-homicide school shootings are rare events, but when they happen they significantly impact individuals, the school and the community. We focus on multiple-homicide incidents and identified mental health issues of shooters. To date, studies of school shootings have concluded that no reliable profile of a shooter exists, so risk should be assessed using comprehensive threat assessment protocols. Existing studies primarily utilize retrospective case histories or media accounts. The field requires more empirical and systematic research on all types of school shootings including single victim incidents, those that result in injury but not death and those that are successfully averted. We discuss current policies and practices related to school shootings and the role of mental health professionals in assessing risk and supporting surviving victims.

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Fig. 1


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    The USDOE has documented school homicides back to the 1700 s when a group of Indians killed a number of children in a school outside of Philadelphia.


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No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.

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Correspondence to Daniel J. Flannery.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Child and Adolescent Disorders

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Flannery, D.J., Modzeleski, W. & Kretschmar, J.M. Violence and School Shootings. Curr Psychiatry Rep 15, 331 (2013).

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  • School violence
  • Shootings
  • Firearms
  • Homicide
  • Threat assessment
  • Mental health
  • Rampage
  • Profiling
  • Targeted
  • Prevention
  • Treatment
  • Survivors
  • Trauma
  • Child and adolescent disorders
  • Psychiatry