In April 2007, the shootings at Virginia Tech – in which 33 people were killed – again raised critical questions about school violence, mental health on college campuses and gun control.
This list of experts was updated immediately following the Virginia Tech shootings and again in July 2009. The Journalism Center will continue to update experts on these and other related issues.
EXPERTS IN ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOR AND RISK OF VIOLENCE AMONG STUDENTS
- Institute for Juvenile Research
Patrick Tolan, director
University of Illinois at Chicago Medical School, Department of Psychiatry
312.413.1893, cell: 312.510.3728
Tolan is an authority on violence, adolescence, families and prevention.
National Association of School Psychologists
Kathy Cowan, director of marketing and communications
Cowan can provide a list of NASP’s National Emergency Assistance Team, a specially trained group of school psychologists who respond to major crises like the recent school shootings. (Source list is in PDF form. NASP also has media guidelines for interviewing traumatized youth.)
- Katherine Newman, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs
The editor of "Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings" (Basic Books, 2004).
- Council of Educational Facility Planners
Thomas Kube, executive director and CEO
480.391.0840, Ext. 14; firstname.lastname@example.org
CEFP is an association of members individuals, institutions and corporations involved in planning, designing, building, equipping and maintaining schools and colleges.
FAST FACTS ON SCHOOL VIOLENCE (focused on secondary schools)
- Bureau of Justice Statistics reports including “Firearms and Crime Statistics”; “Homicide Trends in the United States”; “Background Checks for Firearm Transfers”; “Survey of State Procedures Related to Firearm Sales.”
- Gun Use by Male Juveniles: Research and Prevention, from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
- Emergency Planning: Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, U.S. Department of Education issue reports, tips and action guides, including “Action Guide for Emergency Management at Institutions of Higher Education" and "Tips for Helping Students Recovering from Traumatic Events."
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention media relations fact sheet, including research from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, such as "School-Associated Student Homicides -- United States, 1992--2006," published in 2008.
- Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Various studies, including “Gun Legislation in the 109th Congress” by William J. Krouse, social legislation analyst, Domestic Social Policy Division.
- Some psychologists have drawn a link between springtime stress and school-related shootings.
- "CDC Injury Fact Book 2006"
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
Between 1994 and 1999, 172 students ages 5 to 18 were killed on or near school grounds or at school-related activities. Overall, nonfatal violence-related behaviors among high school students in the United States have decreased since 1999.
- "Safe School Initiative"
2002; Study conducted by the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education
The study examined school shootings in the United States between 1974 and 2000, analyzing a total of 37 incidents involving 41 student attackers. The goal was to identify information about a school shooting that may be identifiable or noticeable before the shooting occurs, to help inform efforts to prevent school-based attacks. Among the conclusions:
"School shootings are rarely impulsive acts. Rather, they are typically thought out and planned out in advance. In addition, prior to most shootings other kids knew the shooting was to occur – but did not alert an adult. Very few of the attackers, however, ever directed threats to their targets before the attack. The study findings also revealed that there is no "profile" of a school shooter; instead, the students who carried out the attacks differed from one another in numerous ways. However, almost every attacker had engaged in behavior before the shooting that seriously concerned at least one adult – and for many had concerned three or more different adults."
U.S. Department of Education
A list of resources -- last updated in 2009 -- on issues of school safety, including crisis repsonse planning, threat assessment and anti-bullying/conflict resolution programs.
- "Source of Firearms Used by Students in School-Associated Violent Deaths -- 1992-1999"
March 3, 2003; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The findings indicate that, among the incidents for which data are available, the majority of the firearms used in these events were obtained from perpetrators' homes or from friends or relatives.
- "Violent Crime Rate Against Students Drops, New Report Says"
November 29, 2004; Department of Education Press Release
The rate of violent crimes in school settings against students ages 12 to 18 dropped by half between 1992 and 2002, according to a November 2004 report released by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice. Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2004 is the seventh in a series of annual reports on school crime and safety. The report presents data on student and teacher victimization, students' perception of personal safety, gangs, student reports of bullying, students being called hate-related words and seeing hate-related graffiti, and student alcohol and drug abuse.