A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms what too many students across the country already know: The incidence of mass homicides on school campuses has risen steeply in recent years, as has their toll.

Between 1994 and 2018, there were 38 school rampages that resulted in multiple fatalities. Five of those occurred during the 2017-18 academic year, and three others were in the 2016-17 school year, according to a study in Friday’s edition of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

All told, 121 people died in school homicides with multiple fatalities over the 24-year period. But 29 of those deaths – accounting for nearly one-quarter of the total – were shootings that came in just three incidents during the most recently completed school year. Seventeen students and teachers were killed on Feb. 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, 10 were shot to death three months later at Santa Fe High School in Texas, and two students were killed at Aztec High School in Aztec, New Mexico, before the gunman took his own life.

During the 2017-18 school year, an American student’s likelihood of dying in a school shooting was one in 2 million. That was the highest by far in the entire period studied, the CDC researchers found.

Counting only the incidents through June 2017, the spasms of violence claimed lives in patterns that reflect the nation’s makeup: Females perished as often as males, and two-thirds of the victims were white. A majority of the homicides occurred in urban or suburban schools.

There was one exception. Nearly a quarter of the victims were 5-9 years old.

Among those with known motives, the perpetrators were most often propelled by a desire for retaliation. In 39 percent of these incidents, the killer was thought to have been reacting to bullying, rivalry between peer groups, or a bad grade. Gang-related activity was seen as a factor in 34 percent, and “interpersonal disputes” played a role in 29 percent of them.

One in three U.S. homes with children under 18 has a firearm, and in 43 percent of those homes, it is kept unlocked and loaded, a New England Journal of Medicine report said.


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