Featured Story

Last year, Tennessee enacted a “zero tolerance” law that requires school districts to expel students for one year if they’ve been found to make threats of mass violence — a measure educators worried could be applied to students who pose no serious threat. Now, two families are suing Governor Bill Lee and a school district, saying their kids were not only expelled but also arrested, strip-searched, and put in solitary confinement after officials at their children’s middle school misinterpreted conversations as “threats of mass violence.” According to the suit, one administrator agreed that the school overreacted. [Tennessee Lookout]

Public Health

In 2018, after the American College of Physicians put out a paper outlining a public health approach to violence reduction, the National Rifle Association posted a mocking tweet telling doctors to “stay in their lane.” When Dr. Joseph Sakran, a trauma surgeon and gun violence survivor, encountered the tweet — he recalled reading it on his couch after a long shift at Johns Hopkins Hospital — he was incensed. That weekend, Sakran created the social media handle @Thisisourlane, which has since amassed more than 37,000 followers and fostered a community of health care providers from around the country tackling the issue of gun violence.

Six years after Sakran created the handle, it’s no longer confined to social media: This morning, Brady United announced the launch of “This Is Our Lane,” a national advisory council whose goal is to address gun violence as a matter of public health. Chaired by Sakran, the “This Is Our Lane” council will be composed of health care professionals across the country, who will work to bridge the gap between policy, public health, academic research, and cultural narratives. The Trace’s Fairriona Magee has the story.

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The Trajectory

A decade ago, New Jersey embarked on an experiment to reduce the number of people stuck in jail — held with neither a trial nor a conviction — because they don’t have money to pay bail. It became one of the first states to take on bail reform, and the policy has since led to a precipitous decline in pretrial detention. But while bail reform is clearly valuable in addressing mass incarceration, its relationship to public safety is frequently the subject of debate, including in New Jersey.

The evidence is quite strong that bail reform doesn’t increase crime, yet the policy is often blamed for spikes in gun violence. A new study from a group of researchers at Drexel University set out to evaluate bail reform’s effect on gun violence with more academic rigor. The study, published May 22, found that New Jersey’s bail reform didn’t make the state less safe. The Trace’s Chip Brownlee has more in the latest edition of The Trajectory.

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What to Know Today

Americans purchased an estimated 1.22 million guns in May 2024, according to an analysis of FBI data. That’s about 8 percent fewer guns sold compared to the same period last year. [The Trace]

In St. Louis, Missouri — one of the country’s most dangerous cities — nearly 90 percent of homicide victims are Black. Yet between 2014 and 2023, police there solved fewer than half the homicides of Black people but two-thirds of cases involving white victims. An analysis by news organizations found that the department sometimes struggled to solve homicides, many involving guns, due in part to shoddy detective work and eroding community relations. [St. Louis Public Radio, APM Reports, and The Marshall Project

High-profile shootings are changing how architects design schools: Today, campuses may be outfitted with perimeter fences, hallways built with concrete blocks, and small “wing” walls to provide police cover during an active-shooting response. As districts balance security concerns with the need to make buildings feel welcoming, architects are also embracing features that could foster a sense of community, including open interior spaces. [The Wall Street Journal

Two more cities have decided to ditch plans to implement the acoustic gunshot-detection system, ShotSpotter. After significant public outcry, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said last week that the city wouldn’t use the controversial technology in a crime prevention pilot program. And Houston Mayor John Whitmire on May 29 announced that his city would not extend its contract for ShotSpotter, calling it a “gimmick” that “was cooked up by contractors.” [Crosscut/Houston Chronicle]

Data Point

74 percent — the proportion of St. Louis homicide detectives who are white. That proportion is greater than the rest of the police force. [St. Louis Public Radio, APM Reports, and The Marshall Project]