Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Tennessee School Violence

There is disturbing news from Tennessee today. A 15-year old student in a northeast Tennessee school opened fire and killed an assistant principal at his school and seriously wounded two other administrators. So far there is no word of what the student's motives were. Had he gotten into trouble and been reprimanded by one of the administrators? Was he upset over poor grades?

Regardless of his reasoning, what would drive a 15-year old boy to want to kill someone else? This is the third time this year there has been violence in a Tennessee school. A school bus driver was killed by a student in March, and in August some boys were plotting to kill a teacher.

A couple weeks ago my school had a lock-down. It wasn't a practice drill. I remember my feelings as I huddled in my classroom - out of sight of any windows, the doors locked, and my walkie-talkie on in order to hear any instructions or information that was available. There was uncertainty, fear of the unknown, and intense curiosity about what was going on. I was fortunate that it happened in between classes for me, and so I didn't have any students in my room at the time. I knew it wasn't a drill, but that was all I knew. After about 30 minutes we learned that the lock-down was the result of a prank phone call. One prank phone call caused several schools to be locked down and searched by police officers.

So today a 15-year old had something going on inside his head and he decided to shoot three administrators at his school. He ended the life of one, caused enormous physical and mental heartache in two others, made some children instantly fatherless, caused emotional turmoil and lifelong nightmares for many of his classmates, and he sealed his fate as a murderer. He will no doubt live out the rest of his life in either prisons or mental hospitals. It will be even more heartbreaking when we learn of what led to his actions. I would be willing to bet that all the death and destruction was the result of some insignificant incident - real or imagined - like a bad grade, too much homework or a consequence (Saturday School, suspension, etc.) that he considered unfair for something he had done.

No comments: