Um, the worst school killing in U.S. history was omitted. This was the Bath School Massacre in Bath, Michigan in 1927. Using dynamite and a surplus military incendiary called pyrotol, Andrew Kehoe, killed 36 students and two teachers. He then killed the school superintendent, the town postmaster, another student and a farmer when he detonated explosives in his Ford truck. A 10-year-old girl and a boy, who was just eight days away from his ninth birthday when he died, succumbed from injuries suffered in the blast bringing the total death student count to 39.
58 other people were injured.
The death count could have been higher because Kehoe planted explosives in both wings of the school, but only those in one wing went off.
Kehoe did use a gun — a bolt-action Winchester Model 54 — to set off the explosives in his truck.
Why bring this up? Because the Columbine incident was never intended to be a mass shooting. As you noted, Harris and Klebold planned to set propane bombs to detonate in the cafeteria. However you didn’t mention the intent. Harris and Klebold hoped to collapse the roof at lunchtime. Had they succeeded, the death toll would have likely been much higher.
It’s a bit difficult to get a total on the number of deaths in school shootings for the simple reason the it’s hard to determine what actually is a school shooting. Advocacy groups, such as Everytown for Gun Safety, tend to be a bit overbroad in what they include, such as the body of a person murdered elsewhere being dumped on school grounds at night and incidents that even the police said weren’t school-related.
However, the overall effect of the ongoing morbid fascination with these events has been to create an unwarranted fear of schools. By any measure, children are safer from lethal violence in school than they are virtually anywhere else, even at home. Children are more likely to be murdered by their own parents than they are to die at the hands of a school shooter.
This obsession also has another unwanted effect: it glorifies the killers. It’s no secret that earlier killers were the inspiration for those that came later. Adam Lanza and Nikolas Cruz are two good examples of this. This is also why the Douglas County Sheriff refused to release the name of the killer at Umpqua Community College. He told reporters at a press conference that he didn’t want to glorify Chris Harper Mercer.
Whatever his original intent, film producer Michael Moore immortalized Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold in Bowling for Columbine.
Unfortunately, this article is another example of this. Worse, it’s also incorrect. Responsible journalists always check their facts.
In terms of fatalities, the ten deadliest are:
1. Virginia Tech (32)
2. Sandy Hook Elementary (26)
3. Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School (17)
4. University of Texas at Austin (14)
5. Columbine High School (13)
6. Santa Fe High School (10)
7. Red Lake High School (10)
8. Enoch Brown School (10)
9. Umpqua Community College (9)
10. Oikos University (7)
In terms of total casualties, Virginia Tech is still the worst, but there are some changes in the rest of the list.
1. Virginia Tech (55)
2. University of Texas at Austin (45)
3. Columbine High School (37)
4. Cleveland Elementary (35)
5. Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School (31)
6. Sandy Hook Elementary (28)
7. Thurston High School (27)
8. Northern Illinois University (26)
9. Santa Fe High School (23)
10. Umpqua Community College (18)
Kehoe still tops the list with 44 murders and 102 total dead and injured. Kehoe also murdered his wife.