Insight Key To Stemming School Shootings, Study Says
By Jennifer Brown, Staff Assistant
Six of the eight children involved in the worst school massacres in US history, including Paducah, Jonesboro and Columbine, had mental illnesses that could have been treated had they been detected, according to a National Research Council report.
The council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, said in "Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence," that violence in city schools tends to be personal and sometimes related to gangs.
But in the suburbs and rural schools, where the worst school violence has occurred, mental illness is responsible, the report said.
Schools need better tools to identify mental illness, Linda Teplin, a professor from Northwestern University who helped write the study, said.
"It can be difficult to recognize symptoms, in short, we need to develop better assessments and then we can reduce the risk of multiple shootings," Teplin said.
Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. James C. Greenwood (R), who participated in the news conference where the report was released, said communities are not set up to identify students who need mental treatment, but state legislatures can help.
"Any state legislator in this country should be interested in school violence and ought to be a crusader for increasing the ratio of guidance counselors and school nurses to students," Greenwood, a former state lawmaker, told Stateline.org.