“Nearly 20 years ago, we had half a dozen multiple-victim school shootings by students in America … and the same questions were being asked then: What’s the matter with kids today?” says James Alan Fox, a criminology professor at Northeastern University in Boston.

“Nothing’s different about kids,” he says, though 50 years ago, bullied kids might have been more likely to take their anger out through vandalism rather than pick up a gun. Kids today may more often fantasize about shooting up their schools because of “a change in the cultural scripts,” he says, but most of them don’t actually do it, and killings by kids are not at epidemic proportions.

Schools and students would be well-served today if they “upped the level of respect” through improving the overall climate for kids, but whether or not that will prevent school shootings isn’t known, Professor Fox adds.