Secret Service Releases Long-awaited School Shooting Study (November 10, 2019)

On Thursday, November 7, 2019, The U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center released the results of a study on 41 school shootings (grades K-12) from 2008 to 2017 in the US. The study showed that most students who committed deadly school attacks for that 10-year span displayed behavior that concerned others but were unreported, had disciplinary issues, and were victims of bullying. Attackers were also influenced by and/or emulated previous school shootings.

Previously, the Secret Service published a best practices guide based on some of its research. In addition, the center has scheduled almost 40 training sessions for groups of up to 2,000. Another 7,500 people have already been trained. The training is free.

The study was aimed at determining effective means for training school personnel and law enforcement entities in identifying students who may be at risk of planning attacks and how to effectively intervene prior to an opportunity to attack. The study also showed that attacks usually occurred during school hours and happened in one location (e.g., cafeteria, bathroom or classroom). Attackers were mainly male, but seven were female. 63% of the attackers were white, 15% were black, 5% were Hispanic, 2% were American Indian or Alaska Native, 10% were of two or more races, and 5% were undetermined. Guns were the weapon most commonly used, and most weapons came from the home of the attacker.

Most attackers were young adults, but some were middle schoolers. Many attackers were absent from school before the attack, many due to a school suspension. Many felt they were mistreated by others and over 75% attacked after having problems with someone at school. Some attackers were looking to become famous. A significant number of attackers were suicidal. Most attackers were fixated on violence, watched it online, played games featuring violence, and/or read books and publications that depicted violence.

Click here to see the study.