Last Updated: December 17, 2014
This article appeared in the December 2014 Rural Policy Matters.
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Four people were injured December 12th in a shooting outside a Portland, Oregon alternative school. All four were affiliated with the school as high school students or as participants in job training or GED programs. They were on their lunch break at the time.
The incident at Rosemary Anderson High School was not a "school shooting" in the typical sense. The perpetrators were not students at the school. Nor do the victims seem to have been personally targeted. The incident was not related to school policy.
Nevertheless, the incident will be included in official counts of violent school incidents because its victims were on school time. In general, students are considered in the charge of their schools during the official school day, at school events, and while traveling to and from school.
The 2013 Rural Trust report, Violence in U.S. K–12 Schools, 1974–2013, examined media accounts of school violence in which multiple people were injured or in which at least one person died. Counting all on-campus incidents, only about 3% involved a group of perpetrators, as seems to have been the case at Rosemary Anderson.
Three percent is also the percentage of incidents in which a police or other officer of the law shot a student. In most incidents involving a group of perpetrators, victims were randonly caught in the altercations of non-students. In most cases in which an officer shot, the victim was misidentified or was involved in a minor offense.
Read more from the December 2014 Rural Policy Matters.