Unspeakable Times

16 School Shootings That Took Place Before Columbine

On April 20, 1999, teenagers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold gunned down their classmates and teachers at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, killing 15 people and wounding 24. This tragedy sent shock waves through the nation as communities struggled to understand what could cause students to carry out such violence at school.

While we often consider Columbine to be the first school shooting of the modern era, there were a shockingly large number of school shootings before that tragic event. From the very first school shooting in the 18th century, to sniper Charles Whitman, who enacted the actual first school mass shooting in modern US history, to Brenda Spencer, a female shooter who not only defied the "loner white male" stereotype but also inspired a pop song by the Boomtown Rats. Here's a look at some terrifying school shootings that happened before Columbine.

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