I am pleased and very surprised that it was NPR that did the investigative journalism needed to discover the facts on reported school shootings. Kudos to them!
Remember last February, during the coverage on the Florida shootings, when every left-leaning media outlet was reporting that there had been 18 school shooting thus far in 2018? Remember how very few of those outlets actually checked to find that there were not 18 of what we would call a “school shooting”. The Washington Examiner did:
The problem is that it’s not accurate. There haven’t been 18 of what we would refer to as “school shootings” in 2018. The media is either sheepishly or deliberately moving the goalposts and widening the definition of what constitutes a school shooting.
Of the 18 school shootings as listed by the pro-gun control group, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, here’s what actually happened in each of these cases:
1) A man committed suicide using a gun in an elementary school parking lot when the school was closed and there were no children present in Clinton County, Mich., on Jan. 3.
2) Shots were fired at New Start High School near Burien, Wash., on Jan. 4. No one was hurt or injured, and no suspects were apprehended.
*3) A 32-year-old man shot a pellet gun at a school bus, shattering a window, in Forest City, Iowa, on Jan. 6. No injuries were reported, and the suspect was apprehended…
Click the link to read the rest of that article. What they found was that of all the shootings listed, only two qualify as mass school shootings — the one in Benton, Ky., and the shooting in Parkland. Everything else was either an isolated incident, non-school-related, or an accident. Well, National Public Radio has done something very similar.
This spring the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, “nearly 240 schools … reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting.” The number is far higher than most other estimates.
But NPR reached out to every one of those schools repeatedly over the course of three months and found that more than two-thirds of these reported incidents never happened. Child Trends, a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization, assisted NPR in analyzing data from the government’s Civil Rights Data Collection.
We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports.
The Education Department, asked for comment on our reporting, noted that it relies on school districts to provide accurate information in the survey responses and says it will update some of these data later this fall. But, officials added, the department has no plans to republish the existing publication.
This confusion comes at a time when the need for clear data on school violence has never been more pressing. Students around the country are heading back to school this month under a cloud of fear stemming from the most recent mass shootings in Parkland, Fla., and Santa Fe, Texas.
The government’s definition included any discharge of a weapon at school-sponsored events or on school buses. Even so, that would be a rate of shootings, and a level of violence, much higher than anyone else had ever found.
For comparison, the Everytown for Gun Safety database, citing media reports, listed just 29 shootings at K-12 schools between mid-August 2015 and June 2016. There is little overlap between this list and the government’s, with only seven schools appearing on both.
More detail is available on the NPR site, regarding methods that the government uses to collect data, how other organizations have found serious problems with the government’s figures, and why the government will not correct their data.
Congratulations to NPR on their work on this issue. It is true journalism.