The Covenant School in Nashville is a small, private Christian school, with an enrollment of around 200 students in preschool through sixth grade.
The school is “intentionally small” with an emphasis on relationships, according to its website, and the school boasts a teacher-to-student ratio of 8-to-1. Tuition costs around $16,000 a year.
The school was founded in 2001 as a ministry of the Covenant Presbyterian Church, according to the school’s website. The two share a location.
Even as school shootings become more frequent, the shooting at Covenant was unusual on several counts.
Many of the highest-profile school shootings in recent years have taken place at public schools, in part because there are far more public schools in the United States: Nearly 100,000, compared to about 30,000 private schools.
Shootings at elementary schools are also relatively uncommon, making up less than 20 percent of all incidents of gun violence on school grounds, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database. Most incidents of gun violence on school campuses, including active shooter incidents, happen at high schools.
And it is not typical for a female shooter to carry out school shootings. The typical perpetrator is a white man in his teens or early 20s.
Still, the shooting in Nashville was just one of several instances of gun violence on school campuses in the last week alone. A 16-year-old was fatally shot last Monday morning before classes began at a high school in Arlington, Texas. On Wednesday, a 17-year-old student shot two administrators and later killed himself in Denver.
While those involved fewer than four victims and so were not considered mass shootings, “every one of these incidents has a profound impact on everyone involved in the entire school shooting, and they are happening, like, every day,” said David Riedman, the researcher behind the K-12 School Shooting Database, which tracks gun incidents on school grounds and has found campus gun violence to be increasing in frequency.
More than 270 people were fatally shot or wounded in shootings on school grounds last year, compared to 159 in 2018, the year of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., according to the database.
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