School Shooting Study Blames Student Teacher Conflict More Than Bullying

A new school shooting study has placed the brunt of the blame not on bullying but on student-teacher conflict.

According to a study funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, researchers at Freie Universität Berlin performed a systematic literature search of all available school shooting study research.

The goal of the analysis, reports PsyPost, was simple: clarify which social dynamics in a perpetrator’s social network could be observed ahead of time as playing an important role in school shootings.

Bullying between peers and social exclusion of shooters were thought to be the most probable factors leading to the occurrence of such tragedies. To the contrary, however, the new school shooting study shows that in many cases conflicts with teachers seemed to be “a decisive factor” in the cases investigated.

More from the report:

Researchers within the subproject of the TARGET research network analyzed 37 studies referring to a total of 126 attacks in 13 countries (USA, Canada, Germany, Finland, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Bosnia, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Thailand)…. The study found that 88 percent of the perpetrators had experienced problems and conflicts in their social lives and that 85 percent had been marginalized.

Surprisingly, out of all these cases, only 30 percent of perpetrators were victims of bullying behavior, while 54 percent were said to have “experienced rejection” by their peers.

A low but eyebrow-raising 13 percent of shooters were bullies themselves.

But the most surprising figure of all was that “43 percent of the perpetrators had had problems, conflicts, or unjust experiences with teachers and school representatives before they went on the school shooting spree,” the research concluded.

While it’s certainly not fair to lay the blame for school shootings like Sandy Hook on teachers, the research definitely highlights the importance of a positive student-teacher relationship, and it also shows the importance that students themselves place upon it.

Clearly, many perpetrators who go on to pull the trigger on Innocents are lacking the necessity of a strong adult role model in their lives, and as a result, teachers end up “standing in.”

For a full rundown of the research, check it out at this link.

What do you think, readers? Is this school shooting study indicative that teachers have a responsibility to their students that goes well beyond the classroom, or are we already asking too much of teachers to dump this on them, too? Sound off in our comments section below.

[Image via Ron Frank /]