(NewsNation Now) — As students return to in-person learning across the country, the number of school shootings continues to climb.
Just this week alone, several school kids were shot in cities including Wichita, Kansas, Louisville, Kentucky, Newport News, Virginia, and Chicago.
On Wednesday, a drive-by shooting at a school bus stop left a 16-year-old student dead and another hospitalized in Lousiville, according to police. A third child was also injured. The shooting happened at 6:30 a.m. just as students waited for the bus to come. So far, a suspect has not been identified.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said this type of violence is unacceptable.
“A school bus stop, which should be a sacred space in our community, a safe space,” he said. “Where there should be every expectation of safety and security as a dramatic tragedy that impacts not just that space, but every school bus stop in every family that thinks about the safety of these stops in our city.”
According to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit data collection and research group that tracks gun violence, last year was the deadliest year for gun violence in the U.S. at least two decades.
In Virginia, students are now being checked for weapons when they get off the bus. In Wichita, Kansas, a 17-year-old and two 16-year-olds were shot by another teenager from another local school. Both of them survived. This time, police say they caught the shooter, thanks to help from the public.
“We need the community to come forward to help us out, we need people to come together and talk about violence,” said Police Chief Gordon Ramsay from the Wichita Police Department.
In Chicago on Tuesday, a 15-year-old boy was fatally shot two blocks from his high school, just 20 minutes after school let out.
Chicago Pastor Donovan Price says Jamari Williams was a football player with a bright future.
“He was a kid who hoped to move his mother out of the hood through football, had lots of dreams, all he could talk about was his dreams,” he said.
Sadly, one of his classmates, Aie’rianna Williams, says losing peers to gun violence isn’t uncommon anymore.
“I’ve lost multiple classmates every year, and it’s just heartbreaking that we’re only four weeks into school and another student is gone.”