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Ten Deadliest School Massacres In United States History

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On Friday, December 14, 2012, a man armed with an assault rifle and two semi-automatic pistols entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and started shooting teachers and students. At the end of the massacre, 28 people had lost their lives. Six employees, the gunman’s mother and 20 children under the age of 7 were killed.

Sadly, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is only one of many deadly school massacres that litter American history.

The deadliest event in American school history occurred in 1927 but one could argue that we are currently living in the deadliest era. Two of the three deadliest massacres have occurred in the last five years. Five of the seven deadliest school massacres have occurred in the last 15 years.

More than 35 students have been killed in 2012 alone.

In addition to the 26 people killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, another seven were killed at Oikos University and another three died at Chardon High School.

The Sandy Hook shooting has re-sparked an ongoing debate about gun control in the United States. In his emotional address to the nation, President Obama said that it was time to take action regardless of politics.

Obama said:

“As a nation, we have endured far too many of these tragedies in the last few years. An elementary school in Newtown. A shopping mall in Oregon. A house of worship in Wisconsin. A movie theater in Colorado. Countless street corners in places like Chicago and Philadelphia. Any of these neighborhoods could be our own. So we have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this. Regardless of the politics.”

This list was compiled with the help of U.S. News, Listverse, and NBC News. The only factor considered to create the list was overall death count.

Here are the 10 deadliest school massacres in United States history.

The Bath School Disaster of 1927 – 45 Victims

deadliest school shootings

Like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, most of the victims in the Bath School Disaster of 1927 were children. According to NPR, 38 schoolchildren, aged 7-14, were killed when a series of bombs went off in Bath Township, Michigan on May 18, 1927. The bombs also killed two teachers, four adults and another 58 people were wounded. The bomber, a school board member, was also killed during the deadliest school massacre in U.S. history.

Virginia Tech – 2007 – 33 Victims

virginia tech shooting

A lone gunman killed 33 people, including himself, on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, on April 16, 2007. It is considered the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in United States history.

Sandy Hook Elementary – 2012 – 28 victims

sandy hook elementary school

The country was shocked this week when news broke that 28 people had been killed in Newtown, Connecticut. A young man armed with multiple weapons shot and killed 20 students, six teachers, and his mother before taking his own life. It’s still unclear what drove the gunman to commit this horrid act.

University of Texas Massacre – 1966 – 16 Victims

deadly school shootings

On August 1, 1966, a former marine and engineering student took a sniper rifle to the top of a tower on the campus of University of Texas-Austin and started shooting people as they walked by. The shooter, targeting people at random, killed 16 people during his 96 minute rampage before he was shot and killed by police officers.

Columbine – 1999 – 15 Victims

columbine shooting

Columbine is probably the most famous school shooting in American history. It’s been the subject of a Hollywood film and a popular documentary. The shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, occurred on April 20, 1999. Two shooters walked into the school armed with guns and homemade bombs and killed 12 students and a teacher. They both committed suicide at the end of their rampage.

Red Lake Senior High Massacre – 2005 – 8 Victims

red lake high school massacre

The Red Lake Massacre started on the morning of March 21, 2005, when a student at Red Lake Senior High School shot and killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend. The student then drove to the high school in Red Lake, Minnesota, where he killed seven people on campus. The gunman also killed a teacher and a security guard.

Oikos University Shooting – 2012- 7 Victims

school shooting

On April 2, 2012, a lone gunmen entered Oikos University, a small Christian school in Oakland, California and killed seven people. According to police, the gunman ordered his classmates to “line up against the wall” and told them that he was going to “kill everyone.” The gunmen continued to fire as he left the campus and was arrested several hours later at a grocery store.

California State University Shooting At Fullerton – 1976 – 7 Victims

school shooting

A custodian at California State University’s library used a semi-automatic rifle to kill seven people on July 12, 1976. The gunman was apparently enraged because he thought someone was forcing his wife to appear in pornography films. A court later determined that the gunman was not sane.

Amish School shooting – 2006 – 6 Victims

amish school shooting

On October 2, 2006, a gunman took several students hostage at West Nickel Mines School, a one room school house in an Amish village in Pennsylvania. He executed five girls between the ages of 7 and 13 before turning the gun on himself.

Northern Illinois University – 2008 -6 Victims

school shooting

A sociology student at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, entered a large auditorium filled with about 120 students wearing a shirt with the word “terrorist” on the front and carrying several weapons. The gunman used a 9mm Glock 19, a 12 gauge shotgun, and several other weapons to shoot in kill five students from the front of the stage. Another 21 people were injured during the incident. The gunman took his own life when police arrived.

Sadly, the incidents described in the article above only account for a few of the tragic events that have plagued America. Earlier this year, a gunman killed dozens of people at a movie theater in Colorado. In Wisconsin, a man shot and killed six people worshiping at a Sikh Temple. And just last month, a murder-suicide rocked the NFL and sparked a debate over gun control, concussions and the priorities of America.

Let’s hope that this list doesn’t have to be updated anytime soon.

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33 Responses to “Ten Deadliest School Massacres In United States History”

  1. Steve Matsukawa

    This article as the vast majority of articles before it focuses only on the weapons and not the motives of the person using them. If left on a table, weapons cannot take life. It is only when in the possession of a person with evil intent do they become deadly. That is where our focus needs to be on. But of course, humans are not held to be responsible simply because they are human. Balderdash! We need to put a stop to religion's abdication of personal responsibility. It is NOT God's will.

    Also, the most deadliest of these rampages was done with a bomb, which the criminally insane will probably turn to, which will only cause the death rate to go higher in these situations. These bombs can be easily made of common household agents and even fertilizer, so it seems that again, it is the criminals intent that turns these ordinary items into killing machines.

  2. Andy Morris

    Careful Steve– your tring to apply logic here and it just won't fit. We have a bunch of reactiaries out there that are not interested in facts, just quick answers, as long as the answer is theirs.

  3. Andy Morris

    Obama sure hit one out of the park this time! He reminds me of Pogo who said " I must catch up to my men– for I am their leader." yap he just gave them what they wanted all along. to be rightous! He can organize a grope of people already there. May be he'll take his speech writer to hawaii as a reward?

  4. Amanda Lee

    What about in 1890I when the U.S. Government shot & killed over 200 women & children in and Indian School? Do they not count because the Government did it and they were Indian? Are they any less important?

  5. Steve Kern

    See how they are twisting it? Obama called Newton the deadliest school shooting in US history. Which it is. This is a list of school and college massacres, with bombs and such, not just guns. Semantics people, pay attention. The 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre, they are trying to rewrite history, yes they were massacred, but they weren't sitting in a classroom or even in a school when it happened. Read, pay attention, read past the headline, get the facts.

  6. Steve Kern

    In an Indian School? Where did you read that it was a school? It wasn't. They weren't in a classroom, or a school. Or did you just see that little info-graphic that's going around on Facebook and blindly believed it?

  7. Grieg Pedersen

    Actually, at its root is was about the eradication of their religion, which is why the performance of the Ghost Dance was raised for a time to the level of a capital crime. Disarmament of the Lakota was only a part of the story.

  8. Grieg Pedersen

    Ron Sondergaard Wounded Knee did not take place in a school. It is extraordinarily difficult to obtain accurate numbers, but to call Wounded Knee a "school shooting" is an oversimplification at best and a misrepresentation at worst. It was grievously horrible, but I don't think it belongs in the same conversation with Sandy Hook; or perhaps I should say that Sandy Hook does not belong in the same conversation with Wounded Knee.

  9. Charlie Hazlett

    That was not a SCHOOL shooting, but location is unimportant

  10. Gregory Barnes

    Did everyone forget that the US government shot 290 unarmed Indians in 1890, 200 of them women and children. Oh, you mean history that matters.

  11. Will Pearson

    1. The Wounded Knee Massacre was not a school.
    2. The Indians were not 'unarmed'
    3. The incidents leading up to the massacre have no comparison to today.

  12. Kim Salyers

    there was never a school shooting in 1890. The facebook image you are probably referring is false. The numbers are factual but it is referring to the battle of wounded knee- it was not a school shooting

  13. Cly Johnston

    Education matters. You don't have much of one to just believe anything written on pictures and posted on social media. It didn't happen at a school. History does matter, why don't you take a class? Thread necro ftw!

  14. Mike Ex

    It only counts as a tragedy when a private citizen employs such actions……Otherwise, it is just business as usual.

  15. Diane Carnes Wells

    Education does matter, as does reading what you are disputing. Both you and Will Pearson self-righteously point out that what Gregory Barnes is referring to DIDN'T happen in a school. If you would have actually paid attention to what was written, which NEVER mentioned anything about a school, you might have wound up NOT looking like a condescending IDIOT!

  16. Peter Bridges

    This is the deadliest school shooting, I wish people would get their facts straight before printing articles like this. Shame on everyone for forgetting! In 1890 the US government Shot and Killed Over 290 UNARMED Native Americans at School, Including Over 200 Women and Children. How Quickly We Forget History!! They Gave Up Their Guns Too, Remember That!!!

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