10 myths about school shootings

10 myths about school shootings

The profile of the gun-toting student in a trench coat is just one of the myths about the rare but murderous attacks in the nation’s schools.

Here are 10 myths about school shootings, compiled by MSNBC.com from a 2002 study by the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education. The researchers studied case files and other primary sources for 37 attacks by current or former students, and also interviewed 10 of the perpetrators.

Myth No. 1. “He didn’t fit the profile.”

In fact, there is no profile. “There is no accurate or useful ‘profile’ of students who engaged in targeted school violence,” the researchers found.

The stereotypes of teens in Goth makeup or other types of dress are not useful in preventing attacks. Just as in other areas of security -- workplace violence, airplane hijacking, even presidential assassination -- too many innocent students will fit any profile you can come up with, and too many attackers will...
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