Juvenile Violence

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date


Publication Title

The Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice




In the mid- to late 1990s, America was seemingly faced with a frightening epidemic: senseless acts of large-scale violence taking place in ostensibly safe, middle-class schools. Multiple instances of rampage-style shootings occurred in suburban and rural locales across the nation, the most deadly of which was the April 20, 1999 massacre at Columbine High School. Schools no longer felt safe. However, despite several isolated cases of school shootings involving multiple (oftentimes random) victims, schools were safe. In fact, by the late 1990s, school-related homicides were on the decline – a trend that has continued to the present. Thus, notwithstanding the seriousness of the rampage school shootings of the late 1990s, defining the problem as an epidemic was a hyperbolic overreach ...