Since February 14, 2018, the United States has been in a tense and emotional national conversation about how to prevent gun violence in schools. The youth movement surrounding the need for better gun-control laws and mental health care—already well established in many parts of the country—has grown in numbers and in visibility.
We applaud the actions of young people who have taken and are taking steps to ensure they have a say in their future. But even as we feel hopeful about the passion, energy and idealism of today’s students, we can’t forget the students who will never have a future.
These young people will never graduate, never embark on educations or careers or futures of their own. They died in our schools and on our watch. We know these facts weigh heavily on the Teaching Tolerance community of educators.
We honor the memories of those killed in shootings at K–12 schools (or elsewhere by school shooters), including and since Columbine; we honor them by sharing their names. We chose Columbine as the starting point because it marked a national shift in the way schools approach campus safety. This list serves to keep our collective memory of these victims alive, but it also reminds us all of the terrible human cost of gun violence; the terrible cost of insufficient support for troubled young people; and the terrible cost of our national complacency.
Counting Every Victim
When we decided to pay tribute to student victims beginning with Columbine we went looking for a list of names. To our surprise, we found no central repository for data on school shootings. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics does not track this information, nor could we find any school-specific lists published by groups that track violent crime.
The memorial felt too important to abandon, so we decided to create our own list.
We began by reviewing a Wikipedia page on the history of school shootings, fact-checked the list using research done previously by groups like Everytown for Gun Safety, and then went searching through reliably sourced news archives for the names associated with each shooting. In addition to victims’ names and ages, we collected additional data, such as the relationship of the shooter to the school and the type of weapon used. The list we released today includes the names of everyone we could identify who died in a shooting incident on school property, including school staff members, family members, and victims not on school property but who were killed by the same gunman before or after the incident. Because this data is, by its nature, imperfect, we would be happy to answer questions about our criteria and methods. And, because this data should be accessible to everyone, we will make it available upon request.
Other teams are also looking at data to try to better understand the scale of the devastation caused by school shootings. John Jay College, the University of Texas at Dallas and Michigan State University have embarked on a project to create a national, open-source database to track school shootings. The Washington Post recently published an analysis of how many students have been exposed to gun violence since Columbine. Their findings: “187,000 students attending at least 193 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus during school hours.”
The trauma associated with experiencing a school shooting is rarely discussed, but must be considered when assessing the damage to our future. Children who experience trauma may be more susceptible to depression, anxiety and substance abuse and may even experience post-traumatic stress disorder. The Post also found that, while the media tends to focus on shootings at predominantly white schools, “children of color are far more likely to experience campus gun violence—nearly twice as much for Hispanic students and three times as much for black students.”
In the last two decades, school shootings—and mass shootings in other public venues—have become far too commonplace. We cannot accept this as a price of modern life. The cost may be incalculable, but it is undeniably too high.
As we look ahead, we must not only ask how we can prevent more school shootings, but we must also remember the survivors, count the victims and keep their names front and center. If we don’t, we risk becoming numb to these unnecessary losses. While we certainly hope another school shooting never occurs, we stand ready to update this article and repost it in the event that this list of names grows.
We must not only say, “Never again,” but we must also never forget.
April 20 | Columbine High School
William "Dave" Sanders
November 19 | Deming Middle School
February 29 | Buell Elementary School
May 26 | Lake Worth Middle School
March 5 | Santana High School
March 30 | Lew Wallace High School
Neal Boyd IV
February 20 | Washington High School
Joseph Johnson Jr.
April 14 | John McDonogh High School
April 24 | Red Lion Area Junior High School
September 24 | Rocori High School
February 2 | Ballou High School
March 2 | Cumberland City, Tennessee
March 21 | Red Lake Senior High School
Neva J. Rogers
November 8 | Campbell County High School
August 24 | Essex Elementary School
Mary Alicia Shanks
August 30 | Orange High School
September 27 | Platte Canyon High School
September 29 | Weston High School
October 2 | West Nickel Mines School
Naomi Rose Ebersol
Marian Stoltzfus Fisher
Lena Zook Miller
Mary Liz Miller
Anna Mae Stoltzfus
January 3 | Henry Foss High School
February 12 | E.O. Green Junior High School
Lawrence "Larry" King
August 14 | Lakota Middle School
August 21 | Central High School
October 16 | Henry Ford High School
November 12 | Dillard High School
February 5 | Discovery Middle School
October 1 | Alisal High School
Jose Daniel Cisneros
January 5 | Millard South High School
March 30 | Worthing High School
Tremaine De Ante' Paul
February 27 | Chardon High School
Russell King Jr.
December 14 | Sandy Hook Elementary School
Anne Marie Murphy
Victoria Leigh Soto
March 6 | Episcopal School of Jacksonville
October 19 | Banner Academy South High School
January 7 | Apostolic Revival Center Christian School
August 23 | North Panola High School
October 21 | Sparks Middle School
December 13 | Arapahoe High School
April 11 | East English Village Preparatory Academy
April 21 | St. Mary Catholic School
June 10 | Reynolds High School
August 14 | Saunders Elementary School
John A. Nieves Jr.
Bryant Wilder Jr.
October 3 | Langston Hughes High School
October 24 | Marysville Pilchuck High School
November 20 | Miami Carol City High School
February 15 | Tenaya Middle School
November 20 | Mojave High School
February 12 | Independence High School
June 8 | Jeremiah Burke High School
September 28 | Townville Elementary School
April 10 | North Park Elementary School
Karen Elaine Smith
September 13 | Freeman High School
November 14 | Rancho Tehama Elementary School
Danny Lee Elliot
Barbara Ann Gilsan
Michelle Iris McFadyen
Joseph Edward McHugh III
Diana Lee Steele
December 7 | Aztec High School
Francisco "Paco" Fernandez Jr.
January 23 | Marshall County High School
Preston Ryan Cope
Bailey Nicole Holt
January 31 | Lincoln High School
February 14 | Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Martin Duque Anguiano
March 7 | Huffman High School
March 20 | Great Mills High School
May 18 | Santa Fe High School
Christian Riley Garcia
Aaron Kyle McLeod
Glenda Ann Perkins
Christopher Jake Stone
May 18 | Mount Zion High School
The name of this victim has not yet been released.
June 16 | Grant High School
July 12 | Milkovich Middle School
August 3 | Edgewood High School
Thaliek Jacob Willis
August 9 | Lakeview Middle School
August 24 | Raines High School
September 5 | Providence Career and Technical Academy
September 11 | Canyon Springs High School
September 14 | McGavock High School
October 29 | David W. Butler High School
November 4 | Crums Lane Elementary School
November 22 | Mount Rainier High School
November 22 | Skyline High School
January 7 | Belmont Elementary School
January 11 | Cascade Middle School
… and all the victims who may remain unnamed.