It’s easy to get spooked when you see news of school shootings on television and social media. It often seems like these incidents are on the rise. But how prevalent are they really?

And here’s the real question many parents want answered: How likely is a school shooting at my kids’ school?

It seems we should know this, but we actually have no idea. Instead of hard facts, we just have anecdotes and a deep feeling of dread.

Last spring, however, the Department of Education surveyed schools all across America. Their subsequent findings sent a chill down the spine of every parent of a school-aged kid. The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights administers the Civil Rights Data Collection, or CRDC, every two years since 1968. By law, every school must complete the survey. According to the 2015-2016 school year results, “nearly 240 schools … reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting.” This is a level of violence higher than any previous speculation, higher than anyone else had ever found in the history of our schools.

In fact, these numbers were much higher than other organizations’ findings. One, called “Everytown for Gun Safety,” only claimed “344 incidents of gunfire on school grounds” have happened since 2003 in the U.S. This number includes every incidence of a gun discharge — suicides, parking lot fights, accidental discharges, you name it. Of those, only a few were school shootings. Yet the Department of Education reported a staggering 240 shootings in one year. What gives?

NPR decided to look at America’s new violence epidemic. Over the course of three months, they reached out to every school that had reported a shooting to ask them more specifically about the incident. To their surprise, more than two-thirds of administrators said the incidents never happened. “In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn’t confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn’t meet the government’s parameters for a shooting,” NPR’s Anya Kamenetz reported. NPR was able to confirm just eleven shootings out of the 240 reported.

Please enjoy the rest of this article at the Washington Examiner.

Image credit: PRO US Department of Education on Flickr

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.