School shootings in 2020-21 rose to the highest number in two decades, a new federal report looking at crime and safety in U.S. schools has found.
The National Center for Education Statistics on Tuesday released a 31-page report that found there were at least 93 incidents with casualties at public and private schools across the United States in 2020-21.
The number represented the highest total since data collection began, the agency said, marking a major rise from the 23 incidents recorded in the 2000-01 school year.
Of the 93 incidents recorded in the 2020-21 school year, 43 included fatalities and 50 involved injuries.
“Although the rate of nonfatal violent victimization at school for 12- to 18-year-olds was lower in 2019 than in 2009, there were more school shootings with casualties in 2021 than in any other year since data collection began in the early 2000’s, increasing from 11 in 2009 to 93 in 2021,” National Center for Education Statistics Commissioner Peggy G. Carr said in a news release.
“While the lasting impact of these crime and safety issues cannot be measured in statistics alone, these data are valuable to the efforts of our policymakers, school officials, and community members to identify and implement preventive and responsive measures," she said.
The report has a broad definition of shooting-related incidents, including those in which a gun is brandished or fired on school property. It also includes any shootings that happened on school property during remote instruction amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Its findings come on the heels of the deadly school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were gunned down.
In the weeks after the deadly mass shooting, there have been widespread calls across the country for tighter gun control measures. And lawmakers appear to be listening, with President Joe Biden on Saturday signing the most sweeping legislation designed to prevent gun violence in nearly 30 years.
The bill provides grants to states for “red flag” laws, enhances background checks to include juvenile records and closes the “boyfriend loophole” by keeping guns away from unmarried dating partners convicted of abuse. It will also require enhanced background checks for people ages 18 to 21 and funding for youth mental health services.
Biden signed the bill into law shortly before departing for Europe for a string of meetings with world leaders.
The president said the signing of the legislation represented a “monumental day” and said it was proof Democrats and Republicans could find common ground on key issues.
“God willing, it’s going to save a lot of lives,” he said.