When a shooting takes place on school grounds during the school day, it understandably captures attention — the most horrific can immortalize the name of a school, turn it into a shorthand for tragedy. But every instance of gun violence, including the ones that don’t make the national news, transforms a school and traumatizes the community around it.

That includes a disturbingly common form of gun violence that often flies under the radar: shootings that take place just close enough to campus for students to hear gunfire echo across their classroom.

Between 2014 and 2023, a Trace analysis found, there were at least 188,080 shootings within 500 yards — the range in which a child would be able to clearly hear a gunshot — of a K-12 school. That averages to 57 shootings a day occurring near a school in the United States. 

In the latest installments of The Trace’s series “A Decade of American Gun Violence,” Olga Pierce, Jennifer Mascia, and Mensah M. Dean explain the long-lasting effects of this kind of early exposure to violence, and share a searchable map of where these shootings have taken place. Dean and Pierce also report on what this violence looks like in Philadelphia, where the analysis found that five of the top 10 schools with nearby shootings over the past decade were located.

From The Trace

The latest from our team.

Just Outside the School Gate, America’s Gun Violence Epidemic Surrounds Its Students

Every day, an average of 57 shootings occur near a school in the United States, according to a new analysis by The Trace.

In Philadelphia, Community Violence Comes to School

Thousands of U.S. schools have experienced nearby shootings over the last decade. Of the 100 that saw the most, 18 were in Philadelphia.

The records set a precedent for increased public access to information about guns used in crimes.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Ban on Rapid-Fire Bump Stocks

The devices were banned after the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas. The SCOTUS decision puts them back in civilian hands.

Chicago Expands Pilot Program to Help Gun Violence Survivors Cover Their Costs

The Emergency Supplemental Victims Fund will extend its reach from five to 15 neighborhoods.

A New York Bill Could Expand School-Based Violence Prevention

A slew of gun safety bills cleared the Legislature this session, including one that could help violence prevention programs reach more students.

We’re Hiring!

The Trace is seeking an editor to lead our new Gun Violence Data Hub initiative and a reporter to cover gun violence in the Great Lakes region.

What to Know This Week

After a public mass shooting, communities are forced to confront a complex question: What should be done with the site of a tragedy? For some, the answer is to keep the pain front and center, retaining the buildings as a memorial or an act of resistance. Others — like in Parkland, Florida, where wrecking equipment last week began destroying the classrooms that housed a 2018 school shooting — choose to demolish, finding closure and comfort in an altered landscape. [Associated Press

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has called on Congress to address a mental health crisis among young people by requiring a warning label for social media platforms. Could that tactic also reduce exposure to gun industry marketing? [Mother Jones

The Supreme Court’s majority opinion in Garland v. Cargill, the ruling that struck down a Trump-era ban on bump stocks, apparently included material pasted from a brief by the Firearms Policy Coalition, a gun rights group that has gained prominence in recent years. Following the decision, Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic effort to pass their own ban on the devices. [Slate/Roll Call]

The New York Police Department has used the controversial gunshot-detection technology ShotSpotter for nearly a decade. An analysis of the system’s success rate, conducted by the city’s Comptroller Office over an eight-month period in 2022 and 2023, found that its alerts were false alarms 87 percent of the time. [Bloomberg CityLab]

In Memoriam

Jai’Mani Amir Rivera, 7, had several passions, but the one he was most excited about this summer was football: He’d just received his jersey, adorned with the number seven he’d been hoping for, and football was just about “all he talked about,” his aunt said. Jai’Mani was shot and killed this week on the sidewalk outside the Chicago apartment complex where he lived. He’d stepped out to drop something off to his grandmother. Jai’Mani loved video games — he was “crazy over Fortnite,” his aunt told NBC Chicago — and Spider-Man. Jai’Mani was an only child, and notably outgoing; loved ones described him as a joy to the community.

If you or someone you know had a child killed by gun violence in Illinois, you may be eligible for compensation from the state to cover funeral and burial costs. See our guide to that program here.

We Recommend

Gun Without a Trace

“I spent years trying to track the weapon that killed a 13-year-old Milwaukee girl. What I found is a travesty of a law that, if overturned, could put a real dent in urban violence.” [Washington Monthly]

Pull Quote

“Remembering and forgetting are both powerful forces.”

— Jennifer Talarico, a psychology professor who studies how people form personal memories of public events, on the decision to tear down or retain the sites of mass shootings, to the Associated Press