Story at a glance
- With students staying at home during the pandemic, the threat of school shootings has diminished.
- One reporter pointed out that there have been school shootings every March since 2003.
- The observation went viral on Twitter.
What should be an encouraging development was also a shocking observation for many online.
Last month was the first March without a school shooting in the United States since 2002.— robertklemko (@RobertKlemko) April 13, 2020
Robert Klemko is an investigative reporter for the Washington Post's Sports section, who, like many journalists, has pivoted to covering COVID-19 during the coronavirus pandemic. His tweet on April 13 went viral, amassing over 640,000 likes and 150,000 retweets by the next morning.
The report follows the closing of public schools across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. By the end of the month, all fifty states and some territories had either ordered or recommended the closure of public schools, according to Education Week, some through the end of the school year. Many colleges and universities have also followed suit, with some exceptions.
In a follow-up tweet, Klemko referenced information from the National School Safety Center, National School Safety and Security Services (which also lists instances of nonfirearm violence on school grounds) and Everytown, which he acknowledged was an advocacy site.
It’s unclear what parameters Klemko used to define school shootings, as Everytown reports seven incidents of gunfire in March at schools, including an unintentional discharge of a gun at a Tennessee elementary school and a fatal shooting on a high school football field outside of school hours.
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Still, many in the comments made the link between the drop off in school shootings and the closing of schools.
It only took a global pandemic to close all schools for that to happen...— Rob McGahen (@rmcgahen) April 13, 2020
On the surface this seems like something to celebrate but idk… America is something else— — Lewis (@ljwr_) April 14, 2020
Klemko also noted that in March 2002, there were a number of close calls, including an incident in Carmichael, Calif., where a 13-year-old student with a gun was stopped by a school resource officer deputy.
In December, Education Week reported 25 shooting incidents on school grounds or during school-sponsored events in 2019. Eight people were killed and 43 were injured. This year, there have been six, according to Education Week, with three people killed and four people injured. The latest was reported on March 5, when a school security guard accidentally shot a maintenance worker in the eye at a Florida private school.
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