The Mental Health Aspect of School Shootings


Kate Sroka

Students shuffle around the halls of the building trying to make it to their next class on time. Some are in another building, some are on the other side of campus, and some are on the next level. Classes start and the world is perfectly normal until it’s not. From a nearby classroom, there are gunshots heard in Berkey Hall, and chaos and panic endure. All of this took place in the Michigan State school shooting in February 2023. 

Schools that have been a part of a school shooting need to do more to accommodate the trauma that students have experienced and work with them to get back to a sense of normalcy. 

As of March 30, 2023, there have been 130 school shootings in the United States and only 89 days in the year. They have ranged from preschools to colleges, with multiple casualties at most of them. This year already has one of the worst amounts of school shootings in years previous. Some people in the United States blame the recent increase in school shootings on the change in gun laws. 

Kayla Jimenez reported for USA Today on the topic, “People who attack K-12 schools are more likely to have a history of psychological problems, long-term or acute rejection experiences like a recent breakup, or a fascination with death, guns, and violence – including a fascination with school shootings, she said”.

As our society has evolved over time, we have come to see that there are a severe amount of people that have psychological problems. Childhood greatly impacts the way that people can turn out to be and experiences such as neglect, can have negative effects on people. 

Schools provide people like this with an outlet to get their anger, from the past, out on. The current students are left dealing with the repercussions. Attempting to return to a state of normalcy is challenging because schools try to act as though the event did happen, but the students are able to move on from it easily. 

Students and staff that witness school shootings are likely to suffer from traumatic stress symptoms, become anxious or depressed and have general concerns about their safety” (Central Hospital of Philadelphia). 

Schools at this time are struggling as it is to stay afloat and trying to accommodate the aftermath of a school shooting would only make it harder on them. The event is traumatic and life-changing for some kids but learning how to move on and continue to live life is an important lesson in students’ lives. Whilst schools can teach important life lessons to students, being expected to move on from a school shooting, especially if it occurs at an elementary school, is not realistic. 

Schools need to take more action to deal with the long-lasting effects that school shootings have on students while also being understanding of the severity of the situation.