Violence in Schools
Everyone would like to think of schools as
being safe places for children to learn and grow. Unfortunately, there have
been many high profile cases that prove even school is not a safe haven.
This is a big problem in the world today as there have been instances of
school shootings all around the world
United States Tragedies
Where are they getting guns
School violence is not a modern invention, and it is not always students
who commit the violence:
- The worst school massacre ever happened in Bath, Michigan on
May 18, 1927 after dynamite was planted in the basement of a school and
killed 39 students and injured more. The person who planted the dynamite
was a school board member who was upset when he lost his farm partly because
of higher taxes which were going towards a new school.
- On September 15, 1959 a father who didn't want his son enrolled
at a Houston elementary school placed a suitcase full of dynamite on the
school playground. When it exploded it killed the father, his son, two other
children, a teacher and a custodian. It also injured the principal and other
- Brenda Spencer opened fire with a .22 caliber rifle at an elementary
school across the street from her house in San Diego, California. she
killed two people and wounded seven. This was because she "didn't like
Mondays". She was put in prison.
- On January 21st, 1985 James Alan Kearby was armed with a semi
automatic rifle and a handgun and went into his middle school, killing the
principal and wounding two teachers and a student. He pleaded no contest
and served seven years in a state youth facility.
- On May 20th, 1988, Laurie Dann shot 6 students at an elementary
school in Winnetka, Illinois, killing one second grader, then shooting a
man in a nearby house before killing himself.
The United States has had many recent tragedies:
- Columbine High School was the bloodiest school shooting ever
and occurred on April 20, 1999. Students Dylan Klebold and and Eric Harris
shot and killed 12 of their classmates and 1 teacher. Some of the
guns used in the shooting were bought at a gun show.
- On February 29, 2000 a first grader shot his classmate, six
year old Kayla Rolland. He shot her because of a verbal spat. The gun
he used was a .32 caliber from his uncles house.
- 3 school shootings occurred in 2006 in one week. The first
was on September 27th. In which Duane Morrison took six girls hostage in
Bailey, Colorado. He molested them and held them hostage for hours before
shooting one girl and then himself. The second was two days later when Eric
Hainstock took two guns into a school in Cazenovia, Wisconsin and fatally
shot the principal before he was captured and arrested. The final school
shooting was on October 2nd. Charles Carl Roberts took 10 girls hostage in
an Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, killing five of them before
Other countries also have problems with school violence:
- An arson fire at Kyanguli secondary school in Kenya killed 62
students. Two students were charged with murder.
- On April 29th, 2002 Dragoslav Petkovic opened fire with a handgun
at his high school in Vlasenica, Bosnia-Herzgovina, killing one teacher
and wounding another before taking his own life.
- On April 26th, 2002 Robert Steinhauser who was expelled from
high school in Erfurt, Germany returned to the school shot to death 13
teachers, two students, and a police officer before killing himself.
- In Munich, Germany on February 19th, 2002 a 22 year old gunman
killed his former boss and a foreman at the company that fired him, then
went to a high school and killed the schools headmaster when he could
not find a teacher. After that he shot a teacher in the face and set off
multiple homemade bombs before he killed himself.
- Mamoru Takuma forced his way into Ikeda elementary school to
stab eight students to death and wounding 13 others on June 8th, 2001 He
had a long history of mental illness.
Where are the young people getting the guns?
What can be done? If EVERYONE would lock up their guns securely it would
become much harder for teens to get access to guns!
- A 1998 survey found that 31% of family homes kept guns.
- 40% of guns in homes are left unlocked and sometimes loaded!
- Even if there are no guns in their own home they can steal one or borrow
from a friend.
- There are almost 7,000 violent crimes committed a year by juveniles
using guns found in their own home.
- During the 1999-2000 academic year in California schools showed
2/3 of cases showed kids got their gun from a relative or friend
- A study at Alfred University showed 24% of kids could easily get a
What are the warning signs and how can
these horrible crimes be prevented?
The warning signs for violent behavior appear in home life, school
life, and personal behavior.
There is not an accurate way to determine which young people will
It is important for people to pay attention to these clues or jokes about
shootings. Since Columbine, there have been telephone hot lines set up to
let the authorities know if someone may commit one of these horrible crimes.
All local police will follow up on anonymous tips and react even faster
if a person has made specific threats of violence.
- Students coping with dysfunctional families and are unable to
deal with stresses of their daily life
- Students feeling isolated, friendless and picked on are potential
- If a student is talking about shooting people even if it seems
like their joking.
- If a student talks about plans to kill people.
- Threats to other students.
- Cannot handle anger.
- Sometimes a teen will talk about their plans or leave clues that
they are thinking about becoming violent.