Another shooting at a school has shattered a community, this time in Michigan, where a 15-year-old sophomore allegedly opened fire on Tuesday, killing four students and injuring seven others. It’s the latest shootings in what has been called an “epidemic” of gun violence across the United States; there have been at least 29 school shootings in 2021.
The coronavirus pandemic – which kept schools shuttered for much 2020 and into 2021 – may have interrupted the trend of school shootings over the last decade. But experts have also said that gun violence on the whole has increased during the pandemic, and impacted kids more than ever.
The deadly shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford Township, a suburb about 35 miles north of Detroit, marked the 651st incident this year in which at least four people were shot, whether fatally or not, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks mass shootings.
In another school-related shooting Tuesday, two people were shot, one fatally, following a pair of basketball games at a Tennessee high school, becoming the 29th recorded school shooting of the year.
There have been 29 school shootings this year, according to Education Week, which tracks shootings at schools in which there are any firearm-related injuries or deaths.
Of those, 21 have happened since August when many students returned to in-person learning for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. There were 10 recorded shootings in 2020.
That dropoff should not be interpreted to mean that schools were “safer,'” Education Week noted: “Rather, the definition of school safety has shifted as schooling entered the home in a way it never had before.”
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At least 11 people have been killed in shootings at schools this year, including eight children, according to Education Week. An additional 48 people have been injured.
The same day, in Arizona, a 16-year-old was taken into custody for allegedly shooting and injuring a classmate in a fight in a high school bathroom on Monday. According to police, the shooting occurred during the sale of a “ghost gun.”
The most recent death from a school shooting before Tuesday was in September, when a North Carolina high school student was shot at school and died of his injuries at a hospital, according to Education Week’s tracker.
School shootings have occurred in 19 states in 2021 – with the highest number (four) taking place in Texas, according to the tracker. Tuesday’s shooting in Michigan is the largest documented incident of the year.
Deaths in school shootings have also happened in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Delaware, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy group, has also tracked “incidents of gunfire on school grounds,” and documented 28 resulting deaths in 2021.
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