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story.lead_photo.caption Susan Payne, founder and executive director of Safe2Tell wipes tears, as Peter Langman, left, Max Schachter, who lost his son Alex during the Parkland school mass shooting, center, and Ryan Petty, right, who lost his daughter Alaina during the Parkland school mass shooting, appear at the the release of the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center's Protecting America's Schools report, in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. The report examines 41-targeted attacks that occurred in schools between 2008 and 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Most students who committed deadly school attacks over the past decade were badly bullied, had a history of disciplinary trouble and their behavior concerned others but was never reported, according to a U.S. Secret Service study released Thursday.

In at least four cases, attackers wanted to emulate other school shootings, including those at Columbine High School in Colorado, Virginia Tech University and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. The research was launched following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The study by the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center is the most comprehensive review of school attacks since the Columbine shootings in 1999. The report looked in-depth at 41 school attacks from 2008-17, and researchers had unprecedented access to a trove of sensitive data from law enforcement including police reports, investigative files and nonpublic records.

The information gleaned through the research will help train school officials and law enforcement on how to better identify students who may be planning an attack and how to stop them before they strike.

“These are not sudden, impulsive acts where a student suddenly gets disgruntled,” Lina Alathari, the center’s head, said in an Associated Press interview. “The majority of these incidents are preventable.”

The fathers of three students killed in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, attended a media conference Thursday in support of the study.

Tony Montalto, whose daughter, Gina Rose Montalto, died, said the research was invaluable and could have helped their school prevent the attack.

“My lovely daughter might still be here today,” he said. “Our entire community would be whole instead of forever shaken.”

Montalto urged other schools to pay attention to the research.

“Please, learn from our experience,” he said. “It happened to us, and it could happen to your community, too.”

Nearly 40 training sessions for groups of up to 2,000 people are scheduled. Alathari and her team trained about 7,500 people during 2018. The training is free.

The Secret Service is best known for its mission to protect the president. The threat assessment center was developed to study how other kinds of attacks could be prevented. Officials use that knowledge and apply it in other situations, such as school shootings or mass attacks.

Since the Columbine attack, there have been scores of school shootings. Some, like Sandy Hook in 2012, were committed by nonstudents. There were others in which no one was injured. Those were not included in the study.

The report covers 41 school attacks from 2008-17 at K-12 schools. They were chosen if the attacker was a current or recent former student within the past year who used a weapon to injure or kill at least one person at the school while targeting others.

“We focus on the target so that we can prevent it in the future,” Alathari said.

Nineteen people were killed and 79 were injured in the attacks they studied; victims included students, staff and law enforcement.

The Secret Service put out a best practices guide last July based on some of the research to 40,000 schools nationwide, but the new report is a comprehensive look at the attacks.

The shootings happened quickly and were usually over within a minute or less. Law enforcement rarely arrived before an attack was over. Attacks generally started during school hours and occurred in one location, such as a cafeteria, bathroom or classroom.

Most attackers were male; seven were female. Researchers said 63 percent of the attackers were white, 15 percent were black, 5 percent Hispanic, 2 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native, 10 percent were of two or more races, and 5 percent were undetermined.

The weapons used were mostly guns, but knives were used, as well. One attacker used a World War II-era bayonet. Most of the weapons came from the attackers’ homes, the investigators reported.

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