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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.

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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

wounded

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

wounded

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

Source: http://www.infoplease.com


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