Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 147–168 | Cite as

School shootings, the media, and public fear: Ingredientsfor a moral panic

  • Ronald Burns
  • Charles Crawford


Recent shootings at schools around the country have resulted in widespread fear and panic among both students and parents, prompting a myriad of responses to make schools safer. Yet, empirical data suggest that despite the recent shootings, schools remain extremely safe places for children, and school violence is lower today than it was several years ago. The present research focuses on the construction of school shootings as a moral panic, with examinations of the roles played by the media, the public, and politicians in using isolated incidents (albeit heinous offenses) to support their interests. The interactions between these groups and the resultant punitive actions directed toward juveniles are discussed.


School Violence Moral Panic Societal Response School Shooting Juvenile Delinquent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald Burns
    • 1
  • Charles Crawford
    • 2
  1. 1.Texas Christian UniveristyUSA
  2. 2.Western Michigan UniversityUSA(email

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