Saturday, March 25, 2023

Permanent Consequences of School Shootings on Students Who Survive

As America reels from another school shooting, much of the public discussion has focused on the lives lost: 19 children and two adults. Indeed, the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas is the second deadliest of its kind since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Since the Columbine massacre in 1999, in which two teenagers killed a dozen students and a teacher, at least 185 children, teachers and others have been killed by gun violence in American schools, according to data compiled by The Washington Post. Huh.

Young Children Are Seen Being Carried Out Of A Classroom Window And Running Away From A School, While Police Officers Indicate Where They Should Go.
Scared children escape to safety at Rob’s Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Pete Luna/Uvalde Leader-News, CC BY-SA

But this death toll only captures a fraction of the enormous cost of gun violence in American schools. We have studied the long-term effects of school shootings on the health, education and economic future of survivors of such incidents. Our research shows that, despite often escaping without bodily harm, hundreds of thousands of children and teachers who survive these tragedies continue to affect their lives for many years to come.

decline in mental health

In a 2020 study, we analyzed 44 school shootings in the US between 2008 and 2013 to assess the impact of the events on students’ mental health. Using a unique data set documenting antidepressant prescriptions in surrounding areas, we found that antidepressant use among youth near schools had a more than 20% increased post-event shooting experience .

This increased use of antidepressants persisted for more than three years after the shooting, indicating that the decline in mental health among local adolescents was not temporary.

The effects were more pronounced when school shootings involved fatalities, suggesting that events such as the massacre at Uvalde are likely to have long-lasting health effects on survivors that some may have received bodily injuries. are beyond.

Educational and Economic Trajectory

But the mental health effects of mass school shootings tell only part of the story. While deadly massacres such as the Uvalde receive widespread media and public attention, many more acts of gun violence in schools are less lethal and less publicized. Indeed, figures from the Center for Homeland Defense and Security show that in 2021 alone there were 240 incidents in which guns were either branded or used in a school.

Nearly three-quarters of all shootings in US schools in 2018 and 2019 resulted in no deaths. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have an effect.

To assess their effects, we studied fatal and non-fatal school shootings in Texas – taking a broader lens and considering acts of gun violence that often occur in schools but are unlikely to make national news.

Between 1995 and 2016, 33 Texas public schools experienced shootings on school grounds during school hours—some schools had more than one school.

Using detailed educational and labor market data, we compared the trajectories of students in schools who experienced shootings with students in schools that were similar in terms of institutional and student characteristics, such as demographic makeup and low- Percentage of students with income background. But the comparison group of schools had no effect on the duration of our study.

We found that students who had suffered school shootings were more likely to be absent for longer periods and to hold back a grade in the two years following the incident.

They were also significantly less likely to graduate high school, go on to college, or graduate. The influences extended into his early adult life. In their mid-20s, they were less likely to be employed and earn less than their peers who had not been exposed to school shootings.

Eighteen of the 33 shootings included in the study resulted in no deaths, and no shootings resulted in more than one death. Nevertheless, the negative impact on people’s lives was profound. Our results suggest that each student exposed to shooting can expect to earn less than US$115,550 in their lifetime.

live with consequences

The tragedy of those who lost their lives in gun violence in America’s schools cannot be overstated. But statistics show that people who survive these horrific incidents and survive without any physical injury are also victims of it.

These adverse effects are seen in students exposed to mass shootings, but there are also more regular acts of gun violence in schools that rarely make the news. With an average of approximately 50,000 American students experiencing an act of gun violence at their school in recent years, our findings suggest that the total cost of school gun violence in terms of lost lifetime earnings is approximately $5.8 billion. It is difficult to estimate the full cost in terms of harm to the mental health of thousands of young people.

So as we mourn the loss of 21 lives in Uvalde, we must not forget about the hundreds of other students who were in school that day. These students will be forced to live with the consequences of what happened in the decades to come.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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