It’s been a rough few weeks for teenagers in the United States.
On Friday, two high school basketball players were shot to death in their suburban Tennessee town.
The next day, another teen was killed by a classmate in a Florida high school.
And on Monday, a young man was gunned down outside a Miami high school in what authorities said was an attempted robbery.
It’s a stark reminder of the violence and crime that can occur at school on a regular basis.
“We’ve never seen it this bad,” said Jessica Johnson, a psychologist who works at the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice in Gainesville.
“Schools are a safe place for a young person to live, but they also are a place where many young people grow up, and they’re not safe.”
There are nearly 10,000 shooting deaths in the U.S. each year, according to the latest numbers released by the National Center for Education Statistics.
The rate is higher than that for other high schools, and the most recent data from the FBI shows that the number of shooting deaths for high school seniors is up nearly 200 percent in the last three years.
“What’s happening is there’s a lack of support for young people in high schools,” Johnson said.
“It’s not uncommon for kids to have their life stolen from them.”
Some of the shooters involved have been charged with murder, including one in Kentucky that was later convicted on federal firearms charges.
“They can’t find any other place where they can live in peace and safety,” said John Schuster, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research in Washington, D.C. “In high schools that are safe, there’s no way they’re going to do what they’re doing.”
Johnson and other experts say there’s an epidemic of gun violence at schools, especially among young people.
“If there was a way to make schools safer, we’d have seen a lot more shootings,” Johnson told TIME.
But a lack, she said, is also part of the problem.
“When there’s less support, there isn’t a greater ability to do the things you need to do to survive,” she said.
In some cases, that’s a result of the violent environment students live in.
“A lot of high school athletes, particularly in the South, are living in very violent environments,” Johnson explained.
“There’s not a lot of support there.
There’s not much social support.”
The most common way young people kill each other is by shooting each other in self-defense.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 30,000 students a year die by shooting in the school setting.
In most of the states with the most data, students are not able to use a gun at all in their classrooms, making the situation even more dangerous.
In a report released earlier this year, the American Association of School Administrators found that schools that lack a gun lock up more than half of all students in their districts.
And while many states are considering changes to the gun laws, they’re still working on legislation to address how to deal with school violence.
And a lack in support can lead to a number of serious problems, including suicide.
In 2013, a study published in the Journal of School Health found that students in schools that had guns in them were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide.
That number was nearly six times higher than those in schools without guns.
“The most common outcome for suicidal behavior in schools is to have a gun in the classroom,” said Katherine Fagan, a professor of criminology at Florida Atlantic University.
“Gun violence is not just an issue that happens to young people who have a guns, it’s an issue of the students who are at the school.”
The NRA and other groups have been calling for a national solution to this problem.
In 2015, the NRA and its allies launched the Second Amendment Foundation, an initiative that advocates for the right to own guns in schools.
They’re currently working on a proposal to provide free firearms to all high school students.
And the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recently introduced legislation to require gun ownership for students in all public schools.
“All of these ideas are coming together,” Fagan said.
But she noted that the gun lobby is not interested in any of this, saying “the NRA and their allies are the ones that are leading the way in trying to push through these changes.”
Some schools have taken the lead in implementing the gun measures.
In the past, a number have been willing to address some of the underlying issues in a school setting and even offer guns to the students.
In 2014, an Alabama high school adopted a policy requiring students to wear gun holsters in their lockers.
A Florida school last year banned handguns from the classroom.
And in Florida, a teacher’s union endorsed a gun-safety curriculum.
But in Georgia,