There is controversy in how the numbers of school shootings are being counted. A report circulated widely this week, including here on News 5, says there have been 18 shootings this year. But now that number is being called into question—and an incident at Murphy High recently is part of that national conversation.
Two major newspapers report the number of shootings on school campuses across the country since the first of the year is actually much lower than 18.
’18’ came from the non-profit group Everytown For Gun Safety. But whether or not all of those incidents qualify as school shootings is a gray area.
For example, the Washington Post reports, of those incidents, only 5 are shootings that happened on a school campus that resulted in death or injury. The British newspaper The Guardian reports 8 incidents resulting in death or injury.
Everytown was much more lenient with their definition, including an incident at Murphy High School that we covered as breaking news. 16-year-old Jonah Neal allegedly pulled out a gun on campus and pointed it at people, later firing shots into the air. But since no one was shot, neither newspaper considered that a school shooting.
While some of the incidents reported as school shootings this year by Everytown are questionable, the group tells the Washington Post their criteria is ‘crystal clear’ in that “every time a gun is discharged on school grounds it shatters the sense of safety for students, parents and the community.”
The fact of the matter is whether the number of shootings inside a school or on a school campus is 5, 8, 18, or just 1, most people would agree it is still too many.