Bullying & School Shootings: Statistics & Facts

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  • 0:03 Columbine
  • 1:07 Bullying
  • 1:56 Bullying & School Shootings
  • 4:12 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Millicent Kelly

Millicent has been teaching at the university level since 2004. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's degree in Human Resources.

Acts of bullying can potentially lead to devastating and, at times, fatal consequences. This lesson will examine how bullying relates to school shootings by providing relevant statistics, facts, and information.


On April 20th, 1999, two high school seniors would change the course of American history. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris entered Columbine High School in Colorado and strategically placed two explosive devices. When the devices failed to detonate as planned, the pair engaged in desperate alternative measures. Dressed in trench coats and seeking to end as many lives as possible, Harris and Klebold entered the school and started shooting. After a 49-minute reign of terror, 12 students, one teacher, and both shooters were dead. Another 23 victims were critically wounded.

Immediately following this incident, many were quick to speculate as to what could have made two teens commit such an atrocious act. Was it a secret trench coat mafia organization? Was it mental illness? Parental abuse? Or maybe, it was the result of bullying. Following an extensive investigation, it was determined that bullying did play a role, but not in the way you might expect.


In recent years, a significant amount of research has been done on bullying in school settings. Some startling bullying facts derived from this research include:

  • More than 3.2 million students report being bullied each year
  • Roughly 160,000 students don't attend school each day due to bullying
  • 1 in 4 teachers don't see bullying as a problem
  • 90% of 4th through 8th graders report they have been bullied
  • 1 in 20 students drop out of school due to being bullied
  • Physical bullying is most prevalent in middle school

Students who are bullied often feel unsupported by adults and peers, and tend to withdraw and become isolated. For some the bullying becomes so intolerable that they talk about or attempt suicide. Others turn to violence to fight back.

Bullying and School Shootings

Bullying has been tied to a number of school shootings in the United States, although this has been difficult to corroborate. According to Izzy Kalman, a nationally certified school psychologist, school shooters don't commit mass shootings to bully people; they commit them because they feel victimized and want to seek revenge or right a wrong.

A review of 48 school shooting cases and school shooters conducted by Dr. Peter Langman yielded the following school shooter and bullying statistics:

  • Of the 48 shooting cases studied, only one shooter intentionally tracked down a bully
  • Most school shooters targeted staff or female students
  • Fewer than one bullied student out of one million becomes a school shooter
  • The majority (60 percent) of the school shooters studied were not victims of bullying

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