Violence in Schools: Another Terrifying, Heartbreaking Week in AmericaJoslyn Gray
This was another week filled with news stories of guns and violence in schools, most of which occurred in suburban or rural areas and involved kids age 10 to 14. A huge brawl in a Chicago high school, in which no one was injured, stands out as the only incident that took place at an urban school, and the only one that involved older teens.
As another Babble writer points out, school shootings are incredibly rare when you consider that our nation has 130,000 schools and 50 million students in grades pre-Kindergarten through 12. And in fact, it’s clear that kids are more likely to be subjected to violence outside of school than inside of school.
But the knowledge that schools are actually pretty darn safe doesn’t mean we should ignore what’s going on in schools around the nation. The stories about school violence this week–those that made the major news outlets and those that only made the local paper–are important because they help us, as parents and as voters, educate ourselves about education.
Here’s a look at what happened in schools this week around the nation:
Monday: 12-Year-Old Boy Allegedly Shoots and Kills Teacher, Two Students Injured 1 of 7
On Monday, 12-year-old Jose Reyes fatally shot himself after shooting and killing math teacher Michael Landsberry, and shooting and injuring two classmates, say police in Sparks, Nevada. Witnesses hail Mr. Landsberry as a hero, reporting that he was shot trying to stop the suspect. Mr. Landsberry was a popular math teacher and coach at Sparks Middle School, and also a member of the Nevada Air National Guard.
Federal authorities say that the boy used a semi-automatic weapon, owned by his parents. The entire tragedy took place in three minutes, reports CNN.
(Photo Credit: Washoe County School District)
Tuesday: 14-Year-Old Suspect Allegedly Kills High School Teacher With a Box Cutter, Then Goes to the Movies 2 of 7
Police in Danvers, Mass. say that 14-year-old Philip Chism killed Colleen Ritzer, 24, a well-liked high school math teacher who had offered to tutor him after school. Authorities say that after killing the teacher with a box cutter, the boy used a recycling bin to move the body to a nearby wooded area, changed his clothes, and went to see a Woody Allen movie.
(Photo Credit: ABC News)
Tuesday: 29 Students Arrested After Fight at Chicago High School 3 of 7
A massive brawl at Percy L. Julian High School in Chicago resulted in 29 students being arrested on Tuesday. Authorities said that the fight was broken up swiftly and no injuries occurred. Student witnesses told NBC News that the fight was gang-related.
Poignantly, one student also pointed out to the news reporter that fights are "the only time the news comes," and suggested the reporter should also "come when we get A's."
(Screencap: NBC News)
Wednesday: 11-Year-Old Boy Brought Knives, Handgun, and 400 Rounds of Ammunition to School to Defend Bullied Friend, Say Police 4 of 7
An 11-year-old boy was arrested in Vancouver, Wash. after allegedly bringing several knives, a handgun, and over 400 rounds of ammunition to school, reports ABC News. Authorities say that the boy's mother called police that morning, saying she was worried that her son had brought knives to school. When police arrived at the school and patted the boy down, they found an unloaded .22 caliber handgun in one pocket and two loaded magazines in another pocket. Several knives and more ammunition were located in the boy's backpack.
According to court documents, police said the boy claimed in the presence of school officials that a "voice in his head" was telling him to kill another 11-year-old student for bullying a friend of the suspect's.
The boy told police that "a voice told him killing [another student] was a good idea; however he planned to just shoot [the student] in the arm and then shoot himself in the head," reports NBC News. "After making theses (sic) admissions he asked to speak to his mother and his request was granted."
(Photo Credit: ABC News)
Wednesday: Three Students Injured When Child Pulls the Trigger on Police Officer’s Rifle 5 of 7
An elementary school student fired a police AR-15 rifle that was mounted to a police motorcycle that was on display at the school as part of the drug abuse prevention activities for "Red Ribbon Week," reports ABC News. Two students were treated a local hospital for injuries and then released; a third student was examined at the school and then released to parents. The incident is still being investigated, although a preliminary report says that "the established safeguards and procedures were not followed," says the Los Angeles Times.
(Photo Credit: KABC Los Angeles)
Wednesday: 14-Year-Old Brought Loaded Handgun to School, Say Police 6 of 7
Police in the rural town of Petersborough, New Hampshire arrested a 14-year-old boy after students at ConVal Regional High School notified a teacher that the boy had shown them a handgun, reports the Keene Sentinel. School principal Brian Pickering praised students, staff, and administrators for handling the situation quickly and calmly.
"The communication from the students was critically important," Mr. Pickering told the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript. "Everything happened within minutes. It was quick, it was calm. I was very proud of how everyone pulled together."
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto)
Thursday: 10-Year-Old Boy Allegedly Releases Pepper Spray in School; 20 Kids and 4 Adults Sickened 7 of 7
Police in Uniondale, New York charged a 10-year-old boy with unlawful possession of a noxious material after he allegedly sprayed a hallway with pepper spray. The school was evacuated until hazmat crews cleared it for re-entry. Twenty students and four adults were treated for eye and throat irritation, reports ABC News.
(Photo Credit: WABC-7)
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto)
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