After the Kentucky high school shooting in January 2018, which has then been followed by an even more lethal one in Florida, a project has been launched to create a national database of such incidents. It is financed by the National Institute of Justice and will be carried out by three universities: the John Jay College of New York, the University of Texas in Dallas and the State University of Michigan. The director of the project is the teacher Joshua Freilich, who belongs to the first of the institutions mentioned. The resulting database will have to include not only those incidents that result in death, but those involving wounded victims and suicidal acts within the school context.
Despite the significant expense invested in studies into school violence since 2012 (currently reduced by President Trump), until now one of the main problems to articulate preventive policies has been the lack of empiric data concerning school violence in the United States. It is absolutely necessary to work on and gather objectively data regarding all incidents in this way in order to analyse the contexts involved and identify profiles and risk factors.
The database will include known shootings at schools from 1990 until 31st December 2016, as long as there has been at least one person wounded. The objectives are:
- To document the nature of the problem and clarify what type of shooting incidents have taken place at schools.
- To build a complete profile of the authors and propose causative indicators to assess if the individual incidents or the mass ones are comparable.
- To compare incidents with and without mortalities in order to try to identify actions that could be used to reduce the damage caused by shootings.The database will be published in spring 2019, and it is expected to provide fundamental knowledge of the reasons that facilitate such incidents, as well as offer an assessment of strategies used to increase security at schools.