Pushed to the edge
In an ideal world, a school is a secure haven for children to blossom into productive individuals under the care of teachers. But recent shooting incidents on campuses show in reality how vulnerable students can be at school.
In the past decade, 36 shootings have taken place in schools and three on university campuses across the nation.
The one near Grass Valley was at Oroville, Calif. this September. A 17-year-old boy held three students and a teacher hostage for two hours at Las Plumas High School and released them unharmed, before surrendering to the police.
Earlier this year, a school in Yuba City was locked down as a precaution when shots were heard nearby and a man was found wounded at an apartment complex a few blocks away.
Local educators cite various reasons that can turn a struggling teenager into a menace on campus.
“There’s a lot of pressure to keep up with one’s peers (in high school),” said Marshall Goldberg, principal of Bitney College Prep High School on Ridge Road. “There’s also pressure to have money, clothes and possessions.
“Also, (teenagers) think about the future and how they’re going to support themselves. The American dream that everyone will own a house, have new cars and a job isn’t easy,” Goldberg said.
Negative behavior is often the upshot of teenagers “trying to take control of their juvenile and adolescent lives” in an unhealthy way, said Anita Bagwell, director of Sierra Mountain High School, Nevada Union Adult Education and the educational program at Juvenile Hall.
A series of disappointing events could also make life look hopeless to a teenager (and cause him to become violent), said Principal Jim Nieto of Bear River High School.
“They might be going through a personal crisis that brings things to a head for them,” he said.
This year alone, four shootings have taken place in academic settings.
The first occurred in January at a high school in Tacoma, Wash. The second incident was at Virginia Tech University in April. The third shooting happened at Delaware State University in September and the most recent fatality was in October at a high school in Cleveland, Ohio.
To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail soumitros@the union.com or call 477-4229.
School shootings, 1999 to present
April, 1999: Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. 5 dead, 23 wounded
May, 1999: Heritage High School in Conyers, Ga. 6 injured
November, 1999: Deming Middle School, Deming, N.M. 1 dead
December, 1999: Fort Gibson Middle School in Fort Gibson, Okla. 4 wounded
February, 2000: Buell Elementary School in Mount Morris Township, Mich. 1 dead
March, 2000: Beach High School in Savannah, Ga. 2 dead
May, 2000: Lake Worth, Fla. 1 dead
September, 2000: Woodson Middle School in New Orleans, La. 2 wounded
January, 2001: Lake Clifton Eastern High School in Baltimore, Md. 1 dead
March, 2001: Santa High School in Santee, Calif. 2 dead, 13 wounded
March, 2001: Bishop Neumann High School in Williamsport, Pa. 1 wounded
March, 2001: Granite Hills High School in Granite Hills, Calif. 4 wounded
March, 2001: Lew Wallace High School in Gary, Ind. 1 dead
November, 2001: Caro Learning Center in Caro, Mich. 1 dead
January, 2002: Martin Luther King Jr. High School in New York, N.Y. 2 wounded
October, 2002: University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz. 4 dead
April, 2003 : John McDonogh High School in New Orleans, La. 1 dead, 3 wounded
April, 2003: Red Lion Area Junior High School in Red Lion, Pa. 2 dead
September, 2003: Rocori High School in Cold Spring, Minn. 2 dead
March, 2005: Red Lake, Minn. 10 dead
November, 2005: Campbell County High School in Jacksboro, Tenn. 1 dead, 2
August, 2006: Essex Elementary School in Essex, Vt. 2 dead, 1 wounded
September, 2006: Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colo. 2 dead
September, 2006: Weston School in Cazenovia, Wis. 1 dead
October, 2006: West Nickel Mines Amish School in Nickel Mines, Pa. 6 dead, 5
January, 2007: Henry Foss High School in Tacoma, Wash. 1 dead
April, 2007: Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. 33 dead, 15 wounded
September, 2007: Delaware State University in Dover, Del. 2 wounded
October, 2007: Cleveland, Ohio 1 dead, 4 wounded
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