03 April 2018


David A. Kaiser PhD
Rochester Institute of Technology , Rochester, New York
Published online: 08 Sep 2008.


To cite this article: David A. Kaiser PhD (2005) School Shootings, High School Size, and Neurobiological Considerations, Journal of Neurotherapy: Investigations in Neuromodulation, Neurofeedback and Applied Neuroscience, 9:3, 101-115
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J184v09n03_07

SUMMARY. In the last decade 17 multiple-injury student school shootings have occurred in the United States, 13 at high schools and 4 at middle schools. Research suggests that high schools function best academically as well as socially at enrollments around 600 (150 students per grade), the natural group size of humans. Eleven of 13 high school shootings occurred in schools with enrollments over 600 students, and many with over 1,000 students. Violent and antisocial behavior is associated with deficits in social information processing, which is necessarily exacerbated by complex social environments. School shootings may be in part a response to the unprecedented social complexity of large schools. Median public high school enrollment now stands at 1,200 in suburbs and 1,600 in cities despite the fact that smaller schools are superior to large schools on nearly all academic and social measures of success including graduation rate, student satisfaction, conduct infractions, athletic participation, absenteeism, and dropout rate. Educational institutions should adapt to the neurobiological limitations of children instead of forcing children to adapt to the unnatural requirements of such institutions.

Reducing school size to within children’s neurobiological capabilities is a universal prevention, a proactive method of reducing violence and improving intellectual, emotional, and social development.

When groups are small enough for members to know one another, they are more apt and able to police themselves.

When natural group sizes are exceeded, formal institutions of behavioral control are necessary, which can be both expensive and ineffective.

Some communities have experimented with a schools-within-a-school approach, dividing large student bodies into smaller operational units with dedicated academic and administrative personnel. BUT common areas (gym, cafeteria, entrance) often remain shared by the entire student body, undermining group cohesion, and

students in physically large schools rarely possess the freedoms and responsibilities of students in smaller schools, regardless of administrative strategy.

We need to build smaller schools, more schools, and roll back the consolidation of the past half century.
(spacing and capitalization added)

My comment: 
The sad thing is that, despite being published 10 years ago, and much additional supporting research prior to that, nobody in authority has done anything with it except call for more gun control - which would have had no effect on any of the school shootings that have happened so far!

Why? Why have they done nothing to improve the situation with anything that has been shown to absolutely reduce violence? Where is the outcry, protests, etc., for this??

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