Signs and Signals of Violence: Secret Service Report Indicators Defined

Research conducted by the US Secret Service showed a strong correlation between school shootings and previous incidents of bullying and suicidal tendencies. Bullying, and even extreme bullying, was cited by the report as one of the most prevalent causes for violence at 71%. Potential suicidal tendencies are an indicator of possible violence, with 78% of shooters having previously indicated a desire to commit suicide.

These attacks were rarely impulsive—the research confirmed that 95% of the attackers developed their plan beforehand, with timeframes varying from just a few days to up to a year. Prior to most incidents, at least one other person knew about the attacker’s idea and/or plan to attack. In 93% of these cases, the person who had this information was a peer, such as a fellow classmate, sibling, or friend. Additionally, almost all of the attackers (93%) engaged in behavior prior to the attack that caused concern, with at least one adult being concerned by the attacker’s behavior in 88% of cases. 

Given these strong indicators, it makes so much sense for all school districts to be vigilant about monitoring student depression and bullying behaviors. At Gaggle, we have helped stop 406 incidents of attempted suicides thus far this academic year. Being aware of what is going on with these students sooner rather than later can help alleviate possible incidents of school violence.