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A broader look at the data on gun-related incidents in U.S. schools


Since the news broke yesterday, we have been reporting on the deadly school shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn. Three children and three adults were killed.


And while more remembrances will come for those six lives and as the investigation continues, we're going to take a moment to lay out how this latest tragedy fits into a broader picture of data on gun violence in U.S. schools.

FLORIDO: First, it's worth noting that last year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified gun violence - no matter where it happens - as the leading cause of death for children in the country, based on the most recent data available from 2020. But when it comes to school shootings specifically, the federal government does not track them.

SUMMERS: Several other independent sources do. And what happened in Nashville marked the 39th incident so far this year that involved gunfire on school grounds. That's according to the K-12 School Shooting Database.

FLORIDO: And by many measures, the number of school shootings in this country has increased over the years. According to The Washington Post, 46 shootings took place on school campuses during school hours in 2022. That was the highest number of school shootings recorded in a single calendar year since 1999. And the Post data also finds that school shootings have a disproportionate impact nationally on children of color.

SUMMERS: And if we account for reports of any kind of gun-related incident at a school - including those that don't result in gunfire, ones after school hours, even just when a gun is brandished on school property - that's happened 89 times in 2023, according to the K-12 Database.

FLORIDO: That's about one gun-related incident at a school for every day so far this year.

SUMMERS: And for those who survive these incidents - the children, teachers, families, school staff - the toll it takes, it's impossible to measure.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Corrected: March 31, 2023 at 12:00 AM EDT
An earlier headline on this summary incorrectly said there had been a shooting on school grounds in the U.S. almost every day this year. In fact, there had been 89 gun-related incidents on school property — about one for every day so far in 2023, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database. Not all included gunfire.
Adrian Florido
Adrian Florido is a national correspondent for NPR covering race and identity in America.
Juana Summers is a political correspondent for NPR covering race, justice and politics. She has covered politics since 2010 for publications including Politico, CNN and The Associated Press. She got her start in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Mo., and also previously covered Congress for NPR.
Manuela López Restrepo
Manuela López Restrepo is a producer and writer at All Things Considered. She's been at NPR since graduating from The University of Maryland, and has worked at shows like Morning Edition and It's Been A Minute. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat Martin.
Ashley Brown is a senior editor for All Things Considered.