School shootings: 2024’s figures are in line with recent surges

Last year, there were a record 346 incidents of a K12 school shooting. In 2024, there's been nearly one a day.

For the past several years, the number of school shootings on K12 campuses has been growing gradually, particularly since 2021 when figures more than doubled compared to the year prior, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database. Educators could attribute this trend to a number of underlying factors, including a spike in student misbehavior since the pandemic, insufficient training and preparation for staff members and perhaps a general lack of building security. Whatever the case may be, the troubling trend bleeds into 2024, and the data shows.

This year alone, there have been 38 incidents of a school shooting on K12 grounds, an average of nearly .90 shootings a day at this point. If figures remain the same for the rest of the year, we’ll likely top out at around 322 shootings total, just shy of last year’s 346.

As a result of this year’s threats, at least 37 people have been wounded or lost their lives to gunfire the data suggests.

A detailed look

In addition to providing an annual account of the number of school shootings in the U.S., the database also offers insight into how and where these shootings took place, which education leaders can leverage to bolster security efforts in these areas.

First, let’s take a look at how the shootings took place. Among the top three most common causes, 90 of them were deemed an escalation of a dispute, 34 were a drive-by shooting and 19 were accidental.

More from DA: A confusing year results in drastic declines in FAFSA submissions

Next, we’ll take a look at when the shootings occurred. Most commonly, altercations arise at sporting events (55), school dismissal (45), and during afternoon (38) and morning classes (37). Most notably, 17 of them took place on a day when school wasn’t in session, but still on school grounds.

Finally, let’s dive into where the shootings most frequently took place. Undoubtedly, school parking lots are the most common location as nearly one-third of the last 300 shootings took place there, followed by at the front of the school (56) and the football field/track (28).

Other key findings

Of the last 300 K12 school shootings:

  • California saw the most (25)
  • They most frequently took place at high schools (168) followed by elementary schools (76) and middle schools (32)
  • 19 of the shootings were considered “accidental”
Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

Most Popular