Documenting School Shootings on the Web
- By Dian Schaffhauser
A Washington State lobbying organization that works to create legislation regarding the use and storage of firearms has introduced a new Web site to document firearm incidents in schools and universities nationwide.
Washington CeaseFire said in a statement that it launched the online resource, SchoolShooting.org, on the 10th anniversary of the Columbine attack--April 20, 1999--to remember the victims of that high school shooting, in which 12 students and a teacher were killed and 23 others were wounded by two students who then killed themselves. The guns used in that attack were purchased at a gun show.
The latest shooting reported on the site at the time of this writing took place in Rockford, IL on April 20, 2009. A 14-year-old freshman was walking to the campus of Auburn High School, when a vehicle pulled up near him and a man inside started firing. The victim survived with leg injuries. The high school and two other schools in the area went on lockdown.
The site, which includes reports starting in 1992, features maps and details of more than 500 incidents representing nearly every state. Visitors to the site may access information according to a particular school or geography. Recent shooting incidents are highlighted, and many of the incidents include links to external news stories reported at the time. Visitors to the site may add their comments and report additional incidents.
"These tragedies can be seen as isolated, unique events, when, in fact, they occur far too regularly," said Washington CeaseFire President Ralph Fascitelli. Our nation faces an epidemic of firearm violence that's most tragically reflected in the number of school shootings.... We must work even harder to prevent access to firearms in order to limit unsupervised access to guns by school students."
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.