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Nate Jackson / Aug. 29, 2018

Gov’t Grossly Inflates Stats on School Shootings

NPR “found that more than two-thirds of these reported incidents never happened.”

We’re shocked — shocked — to note that the Leftmedia hyperventilation about the epidemic of school shootings is based on false information. Some might call it “fake news.”

Don’t take our word for it. After the U.S. Education Department released figures this spring indicating that “nearly 240 schools … reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting” in the 2015-2016 school year, National Public Radio spent three months painstakingly trying to corroborate that report. 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.” In fact, NPR confirmed just 11 incidents, while 161 schools reported no such incident. Many school leaders “had little idea of how shootings got recorded for their schools.”

Granted, 240 schools represent just 0.2% of the nation’s 96,000 schools, and the incorrect data was due to simple human error in self-reporting by those schools, but such reporting is consequential when it comes to public policy. NPR explains:

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, [Florida], and Santa Fe, Texas.

At least 53 new school safety laws were passed in states in 2018. Districts are spending millions of dollars to “harden” schools with new security measures and equipment. A blue-ribbon federal school safety commission led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is holding public events around the country, including one in Alabama Tuesday. Children are spending class time on active-shooter drills and their parents are buying bulletproof backpacks.

Back in February, we noted another study debunking the idea of an epidemic of school shootings. In fact, there are one-quarter as many school-shooting deaths now as in the early 1990s.

None of this is to minimize a single death at the hands of either a willful murderer or an accidental trigger-puller. Nor is it a reason to ignore behavioral red flags (as officials did in Parkland) or to ease up on school security. But when students are being used as pawns in a larger and strategic push for gun control, these numbers matter. And the Education Department’s numbers were roughly triple the already wildly exaggerated statistics of the anti-Second Amendment group Everytown for Gun Safety. Kudos to NPR for doing real journalism to correct the record.

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