School safety, gun violence, school violence


Extreme violence is in our communities and sometimes flows into our schools. Read no further than the local newspapers if you want to see the impact on campus: physical violence, serious injury, suicide, mental crises, and threats with deadly weapon. In fact, the first documented school shooting in this country occurred in the year 1764 in rural Pennsylvania (Keenan & Rush, 2016). Unfortunately, shootings continue to plague our society and occur on rural school campuses today. Are rural schools safe? Is there a way to better predict school violence so it can be prevented? What kind of rural schools are more likely to have violent attacks or a shooting? If we knew definitively the answers to these and other similar critical questions, we might be better equipped to minimize or eliminate some of the horrible tragedies that plague school campuses. Almost two decades ago, Netshitahame and Van Vollenhoven (2002) said that “literature studies indicated a general rule that as school neighborhoods become more and more violent, schools are also directly or indirectly affected” (p. 313). In recent years, researchers have examined why violence occurs on school campuses and what are the most effective prevention strategies. Adams and Mrug (2019) examined predictors of violence and safety in secondary schools and discovered that issues of violence and safety occur more often in schools serving predominantly low-income families and minority populations. Unfortunately, high poverty and concentrated minority students are often in rural schools, not just in urban schools. To help fill gaps in the aforementioned literature, this chapter’s focus centers on safety in rural schools and solutions. Through review of this research, this study provides yet another voice from the field and builds capacity for leadership and social change in rural schools.

Publication Date


Original Citation

Eadens, D.W., Walker, L., & Yurin, V. (2020). School safety in rural settings. In N. Templeton (Ed.), Voices from the Field: Building capacity for leadership and social change in rural schools. Ypsilanti, MI: ICPEL Press.

Document Type

Book Chapter



Publication Version



College of Community Innovation and Education


Orlando (Main) Campus


Educational Leadership Higher Education



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