The 2021–22 school year has gotten off to a rough start. Students and educators alike are struggling, and it seems to be an uphill battle across the country. CNN recently asked teachers about the issues they’re facing and how they’re coping. With concerns about school shootings, mental health, burnout, physical violence, and more, it’s no surprise that one teacher reported they were “hanging by a thread.”
While the trendline of school shootings since 2018 seems to have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and school shutdowns, these horrific acts are still occurring at alarming rates. Over the past four years, there have been 95 school shooting incidents in which at least one person was injured or killed. Overall, 61 people have lost their lives, and 177 have been injured in school shootings during this time frame.
Of the 34 school shootings recorded in 2021, approximately 70% occurred after August 1. At a time when educators are stretched thin and struggling to navigate the pandemic, the ongoing threats of school violence are adding yet another layer to an already complex school year. Just last month, a disturbing TikTok trend called “National Shoot Up Your School Day” left educators, parents, and students in a state of fear. In fact, Gaggle alerts of possible school violence jumped 1,086% overnight on December 16 as a result of the surge in online chatter about potential shootings and weapons on campus.
But it’s not just school shootings that have educators concerned for the safety of themselves and their students. In a recent survey, 44% of district leaders reported receiving more threats of violence by students in fall 2021 versus fall 2019. “Our children have been dealing with lockdown measures, lack of social contact, personal losses, and the continued cycle of distress broadcasted online and on television,” said Bruno Dias, Director of Safety and Security at Mansfield Independent School District in Texas. “I suspect we are facing an environment where risk enhancers are outpacing risk inhibitors.”
Gaggle can help—our comprehensive student safety solution looks for signs that students might be planning an attack or threatening someone with physical harm, including mentions of weapons, bomb threats, or other explicit threats. In addition, Gaggle Therapy can offer support to struggling students and staff through ongoing teletherapy. During the 2020–21 school year, Gaggle flagged one in every four student safety incidents for violence. Let us know if you would like to speak with us about how we can help you keep your students and staff safe for the 2021–22 school year and beyond.