Date of Award


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Health Administration


College of Health Professions

First Advisor

Jillian Harvey

Second Advisor

Jami Jones

Third Advisor

Nir Menachemi


Schools are typically seen as safe community institutions that allow children to develop both educationally and socially. But shootings in schools such as the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, have cast doubt on the assumption that schools are safe places to learn. And although school shootings remain a very rare event, when they do occur, the public demands answers as to how or why such tragedies happen. In an attempt to satisfy this demand for immediate answers, the media often provides an explanation that the public readily accepts, such as a failing in mental health, gun control or a combination of both. However, research has found that these simplistic explanations, are not scientifically grounded. Given the rarity of school shootings, concrete and robust data on the causes or predictors of such violence is elusive. In addition, studies of shootings are limited to retrospective analysis and are typically centered on the characteristics of the shooter themselves. In this research dissertation, I seek to fill gaps in research regarding the environmental factors of schools and the communities where shootings have taken place, specifically in a rural setting.


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