US citizens are sharing that March 2020 was the first without school shootings – but it’s not that simple
- A trending tweet published by Washington Post reporter Robert Klemko, and later reported on by CBS News, said there had been no school shootings in March - the first time for that to happen since 2002.
- It's true that there have been school shootings every year from 2003 onward, but not every shooting was a typical school shooting that involved students and the intent to attack.
- There were shootings in March 2020, too, but four of the seven were unintentional discharges, and the others involved non-students and adults on school campuses.
- For more stories, go to Business Insider's home page.
A trending tweet published earlier this week had people saying last month was the first March since 2002 without a school shooting in the US, but the reality of the situation is more complicated.
For many, the tweet, posted by Washington Post reporter Robert Klemko, and later reported by CBS News, put shootings in the context of the novel coronavirus pandemic and the fact that there have been mass school shutdowns across the country to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Having no school should mean fewer school shootings, and, as Klemko said, there were no shootings in March 2020 that fit the script of a typical school shooting that involved students and the intent to attack.
There were, however, seven other school-related shootings, according to EveryTown - four were unintentional discharges, one involved two adults on a high school football field, and two involved two non-students on college campuses.
Data from EveryTown, the National School Safety Center and the National School Safety and Security Services, show there have been shootings at US schools every March since 2003, when a 15-year-old boy in Meridian, Mississippi, shot himself in a school bathroom.
Last month was the first March without a school shooting in the United States since 2002.— robertklemko (@RobertKlemko) April 13, 2020
But not every incident fits the description of the typical school shooting, and much like March 2020, not all shootings included students, or the intent to attack.
In March 2009, a 16-year-old boy in Fort Pierce, Florida, was shot at his bus stop, and police investigated if it was gang-related. The findings of the investigation are unclear.
In 2015, the cited March shooting included two adults on the grounds of an elementary school in University City, Missouri. Police said one of the men was shot in the buttocks.
While students being out of school lessens the possibility of school shootings, America is still interested in buying guns in the midst of the coronavirus.
In March, people lined up outside gun shops to buy firearms, and the Trump administration even added gun stores, shooting ranges, and weapons manufacturers to its suggested list of essential businesses.
Guns Down America executive director Igor Volsky questioned if more guns would mean more mass shootings in the future.
"When this pandemic ends and we emerge from this physical distancing reality, the guns will remain," he told CBS News. "Will there be increased mass shootings, school shootings, shootings at home, at work, at concerts?"
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