|European Press Photo by Andrew Gombert|
"Although mass violence events tend to capture more general media attention, we found three times more deaths in incidents that were not part of mass violence events," Rural Policy Matters reports. "Overall, students were the most frequent perpetrators and victims of violence in schools."
Violence was less common in rural areas. During the 2009-10 school year, of the 20 or more reported incidents of school violence, only 14 percent occurred in rural areas, 19 percent happened in suburbs, 21 percent were in towns and 25 percent occurred in cities.
"Rural schools have tended to have some advantages when it comes to school violence," one editorial notes. "For one, rural schools have been smaller, closer to home, so if a family or a kid were in crisis or just volatile, someone would likely know and might be able to do something to ease the pressure. It’s usually this personal nature that is credited for the comparatively low levels of violence and discipline problems that rural schools have long enjoyed."
Because many violent acts are not reported by the media and many more happen outside of school events, "this report is best understood as a journalistic exploration rather than a statistical analysis," Rural Policy Matters explains. "Our emphasis is on the patterns and circumstances that run through the stories and on the larger narratives that the stories, taken together, tell. We note that the patterns in our collection of incidents align with empirical research published elsewhere. To the extent that we report numbers, we rely on tallies and rounded percentages to convey the most important themes."