School shootings are a national security issue. Although they have been recorded since the early 1800s in the United States, the frequency and destructiveness continue to escalate. With the latest round of school shooting in Uvalde, TX, we are once again reminded of how prevalent gun violence is in the country. Many federal agencies have continued to act in response to school shootings over the years, working to increase the security of the American people. Agencies like the FBI aren’t just in place to chase down criminals – they have educational programs aimed at keeping America safe, as well.

U.S. Secret Service responds to Columbine

Desiring intervention, in the aftermath of the attack at Columbine High School, in 1999 the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education launched a collaborative effort and developed the document, The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States.

With no fault of the 1999 document and their combined efforts, school shootings continued to rise. Twenty years later, the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center published Protecting America’s Schools – A U.S. Secret Service Analysis of Targeted School Violence. Their efforts and analysis determined student attackers had no consistent profile, but often had a motive, of classmate grievance. Most attackers had acquired firearms at home and had psychological, behavioral, or developmental issues. Finally, the analysis suggests that many of the tragedies could have been prevented, and that schools should establish comprehensive targeted violence prevention programs.

Department of Homeland Security Plays a Role

Additionally, the Secret Service’s parent organization, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has developed website providing preparedness activities and resources regarding topics of active shooter events. DHS has also worked with the U.S. Department of Education (ED), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create This site shares actionable recommendations to assist in keeping schools safe, through prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery from a range of threats situations.

FBI Has Extensive Training

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has developed extensive training, programs and literature available online for students, schools and law enforcement. The FBI Partnership Engagement Website on this topic shares training for individuals and law enforcement. The FBI also provide recurring on-the-ground training for schools and local law enforcement agencies.  Even with these efforts, school shooting statistics continue to rise.

World Reacts to Uvalde Shooting

Unfortunately, we are now seeing these events undermining our national security on multiple levels. From diversion of government activity to foreign government propaganda, school shootings have become an unnecessary bureaucratic entanglement. After the Texas shooting, condolences came from around the world. Even Ukraine took time out from their war to send condolences to the U.S. with President Zelenskyy tweeting, “The people of Ukraine share the pain of the relatives and friends of the victims and all Americans.”

More complex is the propaganda problems associated with the attacks. When Wang Wenbin, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson was asked about the shooting in Texas, he stated, “The U.S. government is callous about the systemic violation of the human rights of American people,” adding “….it [the U.S.] has been keen on wantonly attacking other countries and grossly interfering in their internal affairs under the pretext of human rights. This fully indicates that the U.S.’s claim to champion human rights is nothing but hypocritical rhetoric and empty talk.”

RT (formerly Russia Today), a Russian state-controlled international television network funded by the Russian government, has run a dozen articles on U.S. shootings since the events in Uvalde. The shooting may likely deteriorate our ability to speak out against Russian violence in Ukraine. Last year speaking on American gun violence, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated, “Look at American streets. People are getting killed there” and “You can get a bullet in the neck.”

Even with French President Emmanuel Macron tweeting condolences, the French Press stated, “If there is any American exceptionalism, it is to tolerate the fact that schools in the United States are regularly transformed into bloody shooting ranges.”

School Shootings are a National Security Problem

We must classify school shootings as a national security problem. Only then will the issue receive the required resources given to international threats. School shootings are now part of the American psyche and are constantly in our communities and parents thought.

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Jay Hicks is an author, instructor and consultant. With a special kinship for military personnel, Jay provides guidance on successful civilian career transition and has co-authored “The Transitioning Military Series”. He is the co-founder of Gr8Transitions4U, where advocating the value of hiring military personnel is the key focus. More about Jay and his passion can be found at