Despite the outrage over the Florida high school massacre, U.S. schools are actually safer today than they were in the early 1990s, according to a new academic study at Northeastern University.
"There is not an epidemic of school shootings," said James Alan Fox, the Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy at Northeastern, noting that shootings involving students have been declining since the 1990s, when four times as many children were killed in schools compared with today.
He added that more children are killed annually from pool drownings or bicycle accidents.
The research by Fox and doctoral student Emma Fridel found that on average over the past 25 years, about 10 students per year have been killed by gunfire at school.
Although mass murders, defined as four or more fatalities, occur in the U.S. between 20 and 30 times annually, only one of those incidents on average each year occurs at a school, according to the study.
The researchers conducted their study by gathering data collected by USA Today, the FBI's Supplementary Homicide Report, Congressional Research Service, Gun Violence Archive, Stanford Geospatial Center and Stanford Libraries, Mother Jones, Everytown for Gun Safety, and a NYPD report on active shooters.
Fridel pointed out that many of the solutions devised following other mass shootings at schools have proven ineffective, such as installing metal detectors.
She gave several examples, such as in 1989, when a shooter killed five and injured 32 elementary school children in Stockton, California, when they were on the playground.
In a 1998 shooting in Jonesboro, Arkansas, two students pulled a fire alarm and began sniping people as they went out to the parking lot, killing five and wounding 10 others.
And in 2005, a student at his Minnesota high school killed seven by walking through the front door metal detector and fatally shooting a guard.
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