Violence in U.S. Schools, 1975-2013: A Rural Trust Special Report

Last Updated: May 30, 2013

This article appeared in the May 2013 Rural Policy Matters.

Editor's note: Links are free and current at time of posting, but may require registration or expire over time.

Violence in U.S. Schools, 1975-2013The Rural Trust report, “Violence in U.S. Schools, 1974–2013,” first released in March 2013 as a special edition of RPM, is now available as a single downloadable document. The report includes additional infographic resources and updates addressing developments in Congress and school policing.

The report presents several infographics, including the new “What Makes Schools Safer Also Makes Them More Successful.”

The report is an extensive 40-year look at 700 incidents of school violence in which there was a generalized threat or one or more people were killed. The infographic, “Death and Mass Violence,” is a visual representation of all incidents included in the report.

The updated introductory essay, “The Distance Between,” brings a distinctly rural perspective to the issue of violence, particularly gun violence, in schools. It includes a graph that presents information about violence and school locale. 

The report itself takes an unusual approach, exploring incidents as documented in various media accounts and searching out patterns and connections. The approaches and purposes of the report are discussed in the section, “About this Report.” The “Introduction” explains how the report defines violence and organizes incidents into meaningful categories.

The report offers several ways to explore its content. The section, “Summary of Patterns,” provides an overview of major trends in school violence incidents while “In-Depth Exploration” takes a more detailed look at those patterns. The infographic, “Not What You Think,” presents the most compelling patterns in a one-page visual format.

The section, “Violence Begets Violence,” raises questions about patterns and explores possible connections between incidents.

In an overview of practice and policy, the section, “Schools Inside and Out,” offers descriptions of effective ways to reduce the vulnerability of schools to violence — both from within and from intruders. The infographic, “What Makes Schools Safe,” presents these core features of safe, successful schools. 

In addition, the report includes links to other resources that readers will find useful for improving their own schools while reducing the likelihood of a violent event. The entire report is framed to help provide a rural perspective for addressing the larger policy debates about how to reduce violence and strengthen schools.

Download the report:

Download the High-Resolution Infographics:


Read more from the May 2013 Rural Policy Matters.