The K-12 School Shooting Statistics Everyone Should Know

In 2018, there were 82 school shooting incidents in the United States, the highest there have ever been since 1970. Now, read the rest of the K-12 school shooting statistics.

The K-12 School Shooting Statistics Everyone Should Know

The database documents every instance a gun is wielded, fired, or a bullet hits school property for any reason.

The Naval Postgraduate School‘s Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) released a K-12 school shooting database project as part of their Advanced Thinking in Homeland Security program. They found the need for accurate, detailed information on this subject was paramount.

The database documents every instance a gun is wielded, fired, or a bullet hits school property for any reason, regardless of the number of victims, time, day of the week, or reason. You can find the entire database here. 

K-12 School Shooting Statistics

  • There have been 1,300 school shooting incidents since 1970.
  • 2018 had the greatest number of incidents since 1970, with 82 recorded incidents. The next highest year was 2006 with 59 incidents.
  • 2018 was the highest year for the number of victims killed, including the shooter, with 51 killed.
  • California, Texas and Florida are the top three states in the U.S. with the most incidents.
  • 669 incidents occurred outside on school property and 588 occurred inside the school building.
  • Most school shootings occurred in the morning.

The CHDS provided all of their K-12 school shooting statistics in graphs, tables and charts.

We put together a slideshow of these graphs for you to view here. 

K-12 School Shooter Statistics

  • In 691 incidents, the shooter was a current student at the school.
  • In 1,130 incidents, there was one shooter.
  • The shooter was male in 1,129 incidents and female in 57.
  • There were 29 incidents where the shooter was a police officer/SRO.
  • In 861 incidents, the shooter targeted specific victims.

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11 responses to “The K-12 School Shooting Statistics Everyone Should Know”

  1. Thomas Davis says:

    This number is skewed. This makes it sound like there are actual attacks in schools or at schools when many of these are incidents that have nothing to do with attacks on the school or attacks on personnel or students. Look, any amount of shootings anywhere are too many but the way you are presenting it is not responsible. Thanks.

  2. Can you please tell me where your statistics came from in regards to the US having 82 school shooting incidents in 2018.
    One of the curriculums I teach is Active Shooter Response Training, along with the Aftermath and Recovery.
    Besides owning a business that provides this type of training, I work as the Public Safety Training & Education Coordinator for a large HealthCare Company (we have 9 hospitals in our system).
    I brought the Active Shooter program into our system, and I also do lots of research on active shooter events, and attend 10-12 webinars and in person seminars on the subject each year.
    I cannot find the number of school shooting incidents at 82, anywhere, some sources say we had 5, some say 7, but the most I’ve found is 11.
    The statistic of 82 seems far fetched to begin with, and was the reason I researched that number, I would be interested to know your source, please

    • Katie Malafronte says:

      Hi Dominick,

      This database was put together by the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security. Our article explains that this database is put together off of their definition of what makes an incident a “school shooting,” which they have defined as, when a “gun is brandished, is fired, or a bullet hits school property for any reason, regardless of the number of victims (including zero), time, day of the week, or reason.” This could be why the numbers you’ve found are different. All of the slides can be found here https://www.chds.us/ssdb/category/graphs/.

  3. Dr. Zach Campbell says:

    “Firearm related incidents” is a far better, and more accurate title.

  4. Gary Valentine says:

    This report is very skewed. Id the information is to be valid in determining the number of active violence on school grounds or related activities the reporting need to be broken down as follows.

    1. Number of incidents that involved enrolled students and occurring inside a school.
    2. Number of incidents occurring on school grounds during school hours involving students.
    3. Number of incidents occurring school hours on school grounds not related to enrolled students.
    4. Number of incidents occurring a school sanctioned sporting event.

    Additionally, breaking it out further to include weapon type and number of injured in each incident. Parameters should also separate known reason for violence. Eliminate things that are not directly related to the education of or sporting events for students gives a clearer picture to what is happening in our schools.

    I like the report the way it breaks down day of week, time of day etc. but we need accurate figures involving our students during a school sanctioned event.

  5. Conrad Stroebe says:

    You should read and react to research done by David A Kaiser on school shootings!

  6. JT Nunley says:

    Part of the problem is having an entity that doesn’t normally keep statistics on crime and then breaking those numbers down in a manner that law enforcement keeps statistics. This organization obviously doesn’t. Anyone that is reviewing these numbers should consider WHO put these numbers together and WHAT is their vested interest.

    There are things within this report that should cause concern for the reader regarding its accuracy. By this, I mean:

    1. The definition of a firearm (A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon; (C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or (D) any destructive device.

    2. A BB gun and pellet gun are not true firearms from the definition provided above. I understand that schools have a no tolerance rule however, to accurately reflect a firearm would mean to delete these two from their statistics.

    3. Showing or listing a police officer/SRO in the statistics is also skewed. If they are addressing a threat, then that threat must be armed in some form or fashion. Those that they are addressing, are they engaging an active shooter in the school or are they apprehending a suspect from a crime that led police to the location of a school? As a 32 year veteran of law enforcement and an active shooter instructor, I have many questions as to the specific incidents and to the accuracy of this report.

    4. Any firearm on school property is a or should be considered a threat but there are exceptions. The one exception is a firearm possessed or carried by a law enforcement officer/SRO. He is (or should be) there in defense of students and staff members. One question that should be posed is what is the individual’s intent with that firearm? My next question is if they keep statistics on firearms present on a school campus, are they going to count the firearm carried by law enforcement or SRO? Along with these numbers, there are many schools that are now allowing teachers and/or staff members to be armed. If they include a firearm possessed by a teacher/staff member, then again these numbers would be inaccurate.

    My point is instead of lumping everything together, they should look at each incident, individually, and ask many questions to reflect accuracy in their report.


  7. JMoss says:

    I find it very alarming that they have every statistic on the matter of school shootings but not the race of the student. Lack of information is why people in this country continue to think that only black peoples commit crimes. Please update.

  8. kelon says:

    this website really helped alot with my activist school shooting progress.

  9. Mindy Holland says:

    Do school shootings happen more frequently in school libraries than in other locations in the building? Are school libraries often a safe spot? I’m looking for any data regarding school libraries, school librarians and school shooting. Thanks for any help you can provide.

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