Deadly Lessons: School
by Bill Dedman, Chicago Sun Times,
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In their own words, the boys who have killed in America's
schools offer a simple suggestion to prevent it from happening
again: Listen to us.
"I told everyone what I was going to do," said Evan Ramsey,
16, who killed his principal and a student in remote Bethel,
Alaska, in 1997. He told so many students about his hit list
that his friends crowded the library balcony to watch. One boy
brought a camera. "You're not supposed to be up here," one
girl told another. "You're on the list."
Researchers from the Secret Service have completed a detailed
analysis of 37 school shootings. They reviewed case files and
interviewed 10 of the shooters. The Secret Service shared the
results of its Safe School Initiative with the Chicago
As it turns out, kids at school usually knew what would happen
because the shooters had told them, but the bystanders didn't
warn anyone. That disturbing pattern gives hope: If kids plan,
there is time to intervene. If kids tell, teachers or parents
might be able to learn what a student is planning--if they
take time to ask.
Together, the school shooters make a diverse class portrait.
They are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Native Alaskan. They
were in public schools and Christian schools. Few had a mental
illness, although many were desperate and depressed.
The shooters do share one characteristic: They are all boys.
As a Secret Service consultant says, "If every parent went
away from this, not worrying that their boy is going to kill
someone, but listening and paying attention to depression,
we'd be better off."
Deadly Lessons: Part I
Examining the psyche of an adolescent killer
Listening tips can help boys open up
Case studies: Secret service findings
Bullying, tormenting often led to revenge in cases studied
Thoughts, poetry scream of violence, despair
Deadly Lessons: Part II
Violence prevention methods may not help
Shooters usually tell their friends what they are planning