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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence
is a need to develop a strategy for drawing adults and youth closer together in constructing a normative social climate that is committed to keeping the schools safe from lethal incidents.
The committee notes that conducting empirical studies to establish causal processes leading to these rare and heinous outcomes is not the only scientific approach possible in the search for prevention and control. Case studies like those presented here are essential and appropriate scientific tools for use in seeking for causes and effective interventions, especially in the study of important but rare events such as these school shootings. Only by first carefully analyzing the patterns that exist in the unfolding of these occurrences can one gather the information needed to develop studies from which findings can be generalized.
The committee recommends that new research be undertaken to further improve understanding of the factors that might influence school shootings, particularly school rampage shootings, and to develop knowledge on the impact of interventions. Our specific research recommendations cover further exploration of the precursors to these incidents, including nonlethal violence and serious bullying in schools; illegal gun carrying by adolescents; the signs and symptoms of developing mental health problems in youth in grades 6–10; the effects of student attacks on teachers; and the effects of rapid change in increasingly affluent rural and suburban communities on youth development, socialization, and violence. Evaluation studies should include programs targeted at thwarting planned school shootings. Evaluations of security measures and police tactics in responding to school shootings are also needed.