by WorldTribune Staff, September 7, 2018
The Department of Education’s (DOE’s) Office for Civil Rights issued an alarming report earlier this year, saying there were 235 school shootings for the 2015-2016 school year.
But National Public Radio (NPR) found last month that the Education Department got it wrong, and that most of the incidents the DOE reported as school shootings never occurred.
It took “a government-funded media outlet notorious for its liberal slant” to uncover the “embarrassing blunder,” government watchdog group Judicial Watch noted.
The DOE’s report said that, for the 2015-2016 school year, “nearly 240 schools…reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting.”
NPR, which contacted all of the schools listed in the DOE’s report, was assisted in analyzing the DOE’s data by Child Trends, a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization.
“We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports,” NPR said in its report. “In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn’t confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn’t meet the government’s parameters for a shooting. About a quarter of schools didn’t respond to our inquiries.”
Judicial Watch said that “Even though the DOE is the agency responsible for disseminating the erroneous information, in typical government fashion, it shrugged it off as no big deal. When asked for comment by reporters, the agency said it relies on school districts to provide accurate information. Evidently, the federal agency doesn’t bother checking data before publishing it as fact.”
The DOE has no plans to correct the erroneous report, Judicial Watch said.
“This is hardly an isolated incident of government inefficiency, but the seriousness of the matter should inspire the feds to provide the public – and policy makers – with accurate information. Instead, the DOE, a typical bloated agency with a $59 billion budget, passed the buck to the so-called civil rights data collection division which apparently plays fast and loose with facts.”
In the report with the skewed stats, schools were asked: “Has there been at least one incident at your school that involved a shooting (regardless of whether anyone was hurt)?”
The DOE “should have known better than to blindly publish the information,” Judicial Watch said, adding that the DOE could easily have checked the gun safety database published online by Everytown.
For the 2015-2016 school year, which the DOE report said had 235 school shootings, the Everytown database reported 29.