School Shootings and the Impact on Students Studied

I am XMilitary and my interpretation may not fit the scenarios described in these studies. If you know better, please explain your interpretation. This is not an easy topic to read. I was interested in the results of the studies and have read all of them.

You have to wonder for them what happens a week later, a month goes by, a year drags on, and finally two or more years. The exposure to such situations will play over and over again for these young minds. Compare it to battle fatigue for young minds who are not trained for such violent experiences and unprepared for it mentally. Even those serving in the military come home fatigued from it. For children, school is safe haven. Now even that is gone for them.

How school shootings hurt student achievement and enrollment,, Denise-Marie Ordway

 An analysis after the shootings at U.S. public schools between 1999 and 2018 provides “the first causal estimates of the impact of campus shootings on [school] district finance, staffing, and student composition on a national scale.

Ten people died and another 13 have been injured in U.S. school shootings so far this year, Education Week’s 2023 School Shooting Tracker shows.

On March 27, three 9-year-olds and three adult staff members were  killed at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s the deadliest school shooting since May 2022, when an 18-year-old former student gunned down 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

As journalists attempt to collect facts, they try to put the events into context, focusing, for example, on questions about gun policies and how the communities involved grapple with their loss.

And long after news crews leave, those young minds who were a part of the violence or witnessed these tragedies will bear their consequences. Extensive research suggests an exposure to violence can hurt children’s health and well-being for years into the future. It also can desensitize them. In their eyes, violence, becomes an acceptable way to handle problems. Researchers attempt to explain.

I chose three of the multiple studies offered I believe detail the findings rather well after the events. They offer insights into how students react afterwards, what their academic performance is, and how enrollment or attendance can fall following a mass shooting on campus.

The Effects of Campus Shootings on School Finance and Student Composition, Lang “Kate” Yang and Maithreyi Gopalan. Education Finance and Policy

An analysis of shootings at U.S. public schools between 1999 and 2018, provides “the first causal estimates (impact?) of campus shootings on [school] district finance, staffing, and student composition on a national scale. Revealed from the analysis was:

  • School shootings were associated with increased spending of an average and additional $248 per student. Schools expenditures were on capital projects, building repairs, and security upgrades. Student support services such as mental health and psychological services were a part also.
  • The federal government funded much of these new costs. “While campus shootings are localized events, costs are shared by all taxpayers as federal transfers provide the main source of funding.”
  • Enrollment dropped after a school shooting as higher-income families left the area. “The exiting effect is not confined to the public school system either. After shootings occur on public school campuses, enrollments drop among private schools located within the public school district.”
  • The average number of teachers per 100 students did not change after shootings. This confirms prior research indicating “shootings do not lead to a loss of instructional resources.” The number of guidance counselors rose temporarily, during the first year or two after a shooting.

Trauma at School: The Impacts of Shootings on Students’ Human Capital and Economic Outcomes, Marika Cabral, Bokyung Kim, Maya Rossin-Slater, Molly Schnell and Hannes Schwandt, National Bureau of Economic Research

Researchers studied public school shootings in Texas to gauge the impact on students’ education and future job earnings. Focus was on the 33 shootings taking place on school grounds during school hours between 1995 and 2016.

The analysis reveal:

  • Children who attend public schools where a shooting occurred were (on average) 1.8 percentage points more likely to be chronically absent than kids at similar schools having no shootings. Students exposed to school shootings were (on average) 1.3 percentage points more likely to repeat a grade.
  • Sophomore or junior students when a shooting occurred at their high school were 2.9 percentage points less likely to graduate high school. This compared with students in the same grades who attended similar schools without shootings. They were 5.5 percentage points (on average) less likely to enroll in a four-year college..
  • Nineth, 10th and 11th grade students exposed to a school shooting were 4.4 percentage points less likely to have jobs when they reached the age of 24 to 26. Also, their lifetime earnings were projected to be lower. The study estimates imply a $115,550 reduction (2018 dollars) in present discounted value of lifetime earnings per shooting-exposed student.”

Exposure to a School Shooting and Subsequent Well-Being, Phillip B. Levine and Robin McKnight. National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, December 2020.

Student test scores fell and chronic absenteeism rose, especially among boys, at public elementary schools across Newtown, Connecticut, after a massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, according to this analysis.

The researchers examined student test scores at 14 elementary and middle schools in the U.S. experiencing fatal shootings between 2009 and 2016. One person died in each of those shootings, except for at Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20 first-graders and 6 educators were killed. The researchers also looked at changes in chronic absenteeism, or the proportion of children who missed more than 10% of school days in a given academic year.

What Levine and McKnight learned: As a whole, the 14 public schools did not see changes in test scores or absentee rates for boys or girls. But when they looked specifically at the scores of third- and fourth-graders in Newtown, Connecticut, between 2008 and 2018, they found that student performance dropped across elementary schools after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

“At Sandy Hook, test results fell dramatically after the shooting,” they write. “Results rebounded somewhat over time as the affected cohorts aged out of the school. At other Newtown elementary schools, these data suggest that test scores fell as well, suggesting a broad impact within the district.”

Chronic absenteeism spiked.

“Chronic absenteeism at Sandy Hook Elementary more than doubled in the year after the shooting,” the researchers write. “It also increased at other elementary schools in the district, although to a lesser extent.”

All of this done to a younger generation justifies a nation arming every citizen with a gun as used in common terminology. Certainly, there is a better solution than the continuing status quo?