The number of school shootings resulting in injuries or deaths has jumped markedly in the United States over the past two decades, reaching a high of 93 in the 2020–21 school year, according to Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2021. Mass shootings—such as the Uvalde, TX, shooting in which 19 children and 2 teachers died, and 17 others were wounded—are incomprehensible tragedies, but less deadly incidents also have far-reaching consequences. Thousands of elementary and secondary school students witnessed the 783 school shootings recorded from the 2000–2001 school year to the 2020–21 school year.
In fiscal year 2022, OJJDP added a new solicitation to its portfolio of youth violence intervention and antigang initiatives aimed at deterring gun and gang violence. The school-based program, Enhancing School Capacity To Address Youth Violence, emphasizes collaborative approaches between schools and local community-based organizations that operate violence prevention and early intervention programs. The initiative will allocate up to $24.5 million to fund a service network of local partners at each project site, providing students with customized support that schools cannot offer on their own.
OJJDP’s Enhancing School Capacity To Address Youth Violence initiative promotes collaborations between schools and local organizations, emphasizing the role families can play in transforming youth behavior. Programs like it have the potential to significantly reduce both school and community violence.
—OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan
The Enhancing School Capacity To Address Youth Violence solicitation represents the first time the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has allocated funding to OJJDP under the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act of 2018. OJJDP anticipates receiving additional BJA funding for the initiative over the next several years, following President Biden’s June 25, 2022, signing of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. Intended to reduce gun violence, the measure authorized $300 million over 5 years for the STOP School Violence program.
OJJDP’s Model Programs Guide contains information about evidence-based programs that promote school safety. Youth.gov provides resources to help youth, families, educators, and others cope with and discuss community trauma in the aftermath of a mass shooting.