Bomb Incidents in Schools:

An Analysis of the 2015-2016 School Year

This school year, school safety news has been overwhelmingly dominated by reports of bomb threats.

At the Educator’s School Safety Network, we think it is critical to move beyond mere speculation on this issue to an analysis of actual facts and data.

We have compiled the most current information on bomb incidents in America’s schools to determine the scope and severity of the bomb incident problem.

While incidents have been gradually increasing since 2012, in the 2015-2016 school year U.S. schools have experienced 1,267 bomb threats, an increase of 106% compared to that same time period in 2012-2013.

This is not just a one-time occurrence: since November of 2011 there has been an increase in bomb incidents of 1,461%.

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January of 2016 saw 206 school-based bomb threats, an average of more than 10 threats per school day- the highest number recorded to date.



Based on our analysis of bomb threat data and trends, the sobering reality is that an explosive device WILL be detonated in an American school, and we must be ready.

Concurrent with these troubling findings, school administrators and law enforcement officials find themselves in the untenable position of having to make critical decisions about bomb threat incidents with few established best practices, outdated protocols, and a complete lack of education-based training. More significantly, many school leaders do not understand the potentially catastrophic effects of a bomb incident or do not have the requisite skills to respond appropriately and effectively. 

It is critical to stop speculating, relying on “expert impressions” or utilizing outdated information, and anecdotes. Instead, we must objectively and factually determine the nature, scope and severity of the problem.

States and/or localities must provide training for bomb incidents that is appropriate not just to the needs of emergency responders but contains specific strategies, skills, and information for school decision makers. Training should focus not just on response after a threat has been determined, but also on identifying vulnerabilities and violence and/or threat prevention activities.