Secret Service releases findings on school violence after studying attacks, attackers


Ambulances are parked outside of Saugus High School after reports of a shooting on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 in Santa Clarita, Calif. A few people were injured Thursday during a shooting at the high school, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and a search was underway for the gunman, authorities said. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – At least two students are dead and several more are injured after a school shooting in California on Thursday. The latest school shooting comes just one week after the United States Secret Service released new research on school violence.

The 35-page report released on Nov. 7 identified 41 attacks against United States schools between 2008 and 2017. Researchers examined the attacks, as well as the background and the behaviors of the attackers, to try and find commonalities.

Agents say their research uncovered several key findings.

When it comes to profiling, the Secret Service says there is no profile of a student attacker and no profile for the type of school that is targeted in attacks.

The report found attackers usually have multiple motives. The most common motive involves grievances with classmates. The report states most attackers used firearms. Of those firearms, the report says most were acquired from home.

According to the report, most attackers had experienced psychological, behavioral or developmental symptoms. Agents found about half of the attackers they looked into showed interest in violent topics like the Columbine school shooting or Hitler.

The report says most attackers were victims of bullying, and nearly every attacker experienced negative home life factors. All attackers also experienced social stressors.

Most attackers the Secret Service studied had a history of school disciplinary actions. Many also had previous contact with law enforcement, the report says. Agents also report that all attackers exhibited “concerning behaviors” and most elicited concern from others. Most attackers also communicated their intent to attack, the report says.

“Keeping schools safe requires a team effort, and I am proud to stand with our partners across the federal, state and local governments, our school boards, law enforcement and the public in this important work to better protect our children,” U.S. Secret Service Director James M. Murray said in a statement. “The Secret Service will steadfastly continue these collaborative efforts in support of our nation’s schools and communities.”

Read the full 35-page report here.

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