***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***
Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.
BLOG POST #178: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific crime involving a 12-year-old middle school student.
I haven’t experienced a school lockdown, but I imagine it’s frightening. Even the toughest kids most likely become fearful when their classroom door is locked, the windows covered, and they’re told to huddle in a corner.
Making it even scarier is how long it takes to hear “all clear.” Kids can be held in classrooms for many hours. There may be a crime scene to process, there may be an assailant roaming the halls, key people may have been harmed causing the best emergency preparedness plans to become derailed. Meanwhile on the perimeter, parents become frantic with worry.
You can practice, practice, practice for emergencies but nothing prepares you for the aftermath when a person on campus has been harmed or killed.
In this case, a 12-year-old girl was in her first-period science class with mixed grades when she dropped her backpack on the floor. The semiautomatic handgun in her backpack went off.
In an interview with Education Week, The teacher who’d been in the classroom said, “It was the loudest thing I had ever heard.”
The single bullet hit a 15-year-old boy in the head and a 15-year-old girl in the wrist. The teacher and two younger students suffered facial and head injuries from shrapnel.
At that moment, it was still unknown where the shot had come from. The injured students were given triage care, and the remaining students including the one with the gun were sent to an adjacent classroom. One of the wounded students told a teacher who she thought had the weapon.
The school went into lockdown mode until it could be determined there were no other guns on campus.
The young girl was taken into custody and held in Juvenile Hall without bail. Later, the prosecutor charged her with a minor in possession of a firearm and possessing a firearm on school grounds—both felonies.
The boy who’d been shot in the head was in critical condition. The girl shot in the arm was listed as stable. And the other injuries were minor. All recovered from their injuries.
The school district where this shooting occurred is huge—and they’d been doing random student searches since 1993. They began daily searches with metal-detecting wands in 2011.
Before the shooting occurred, a security audit found the random searches inconsistent and the daily searches not happening daily. Keeping up with security is costly. Metal detectors and staff to perform the searches are ongoing costs.
If large school districts who receive the biggest piece of the budget pie aren’t allocating enough money to security, you can imagine smaller districts probably aren’t as well. However, school violence happens at big and small schools. So how do we make schools safe?
What are your thoughts about this case? Do you support law enforcement using genealogy services to help solve cold cases? Or do you think it’s a privacy violation? I’m also curious about your opinion on metal detectors at schools.
Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog. And your comments are helpful when I’m plotting stories.
Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.
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