A Secret Service study revealed that most school shootings were preventable because the shooters typically present red flags.
The Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center reviewed 41 school shootings that took place from 2008 to 2017.
Researchers found that there is no common profile for the type of school or the victims targeted by school shooters. However, the shooters themselves had several commonalities.
Most school shooters were bullied and had grievances with their peers or others within the school. A majority had issues in their homes, including divorced or abusive parents. The guns used in the shootings were obtained from family members.
Beyond challenges with their families and classmates, each of the shooters presented many warning signs of violent behavior.
“Most of the attackers communicated a prior threat to their target or communicated their intentions to carry out an attack,” the report stated. “In many cases, someone observed a threatening communication or behavior but did not act, either out of fear, not believing the attacker, misjudging the immediacy or location, or believing they had dissuaded the attacker.”
The report urged schools to encourage everyone to come forward when they hear threats of violence.
“Students, school personnel, and family members should be encouraged to report troubling or concerning behaviors to ensure that those in positions of authority can intervene,” they said.
Lina Alathari, who leads the Threat Assessment Center, told the Associated Press, “These are not sudden, impulsive acts where a student suddenly gets disgruntled. The majority of these incidents are preventable.”
The report noted that there isn’t a single factor responsible for shootings but encouraged schools to provide resources to at-risk students, intervene in bullying, and continue to be trained on how to handle shootings if they occur.
“It really is about a constellation of behaviors and factors,” Alathari explained.
President Trump has called for “every level of government” to mobilize to stop school shootings by identifying threats as soon as possible.