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‘Multiple’ People Shot at Iowa High School in One of 1st School Shootings of 2024

This story will be updated as additional details become available.

Multiple people were shot at a high school in Iowa on Thursday morning during the district’s first day back from winter break.

The shooting at Perry High School, about 40 miles northwest of Des Moines, is among the first of 2024. It follows one other incident Education Week has recorded on its 2024 school shooting tracker, during which an 18-year-old was shot in a school parking lot during a high school basketball game in Virginia.

During a press conference at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday, Dallas County Sheriff Adam Infante confirmed that authorities received reports of an active shooter at Perry High School at about 7:37 a.m., before classes had begun for the day.

Officers arrived within seven minutes, Infante said, and “located multiple gunshot victims.”

Infante said “very few” students and faculty were in the building at the time of the shooting, “which, I think, contributed to a good outcome in that sense.”

Infante said police identified the shooter, but declined to release further information, including how many people had been injured and their conditions, whether anybody had been killed, and whether police had made any arrests. Infante said, however, that there is “no further danger to the public” and “the community is safe.”

Another press conference is expected Thursday afternoon, although a time wasn’t immediately disclosed.

The Perry school district has three schools and serves about 1,785 students, according to its website.

In 2023, there were 37 shootings on school property that injured at least one person, according to Education Week’s shooting tracker for that year. That was the second-highest annual total since EdWeek began tracking school shooting incidents in 2018.

Since 2018, EdWeek has counted 182 school shooting incidents to include in its tracker. The EdWeek tracker counts incidents in which at least one person other than the individual firing the weapon is injured by gunfire on school property when school is in session or during a school-sponsored event.

Nationwide, 20 people died and 42 others were injured in 2023 in instances of gun violence in and around schools.

News of school shootings can be unsettling for students and educators, whether they were present for the event or not, according to experts.

Professional organizations, including the American School Counselor Association, Mayo Clinic, and National Association of School Psychologists, recommend that adults reiterate to children that schools are safe, and review safety procedures so students understand what measures are in place to keep them safe.

School and district leaders can also remind students how to report potential problems or behaviors that make them feel uncomfortable, and ensure staff members are observant of changes in individual students’ behavior following high-profile shooting events that could indicate they’re struggling with feelings of distress or anxiety.

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