Asumag 2480 Susan 2013v4

Editor's Focus: Lasting Violence

March 1, 2012
School violence, no matter how long ago, provides lasting memories.

An acquaintance of mine recently lost everything, including a pet, in an apartment complex fire. It happened a few weeks ago, and she's settled into a new place, but nearly every day I read updates on her Facebook page about how whenever she hears a siren her heart skips a beat, or when she reads anything about a fire she has nightmares.

I thought about this as I have been reading about the most recent school violence. I am guessing that the people affected by the 1999 Columbine shootings and the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, as well as other violent school episodes, still have those same feelings as they read about the most recent violence in schools:

  • On Feb. 27, 17-year-old T.J. Lane allegedly brought a .22-caliber handgun to Chardon (Ohio) High School and opened fire on several students. Danny Parmertor, 16, Russell King Jr., 17, and Demetrius Hewlin, 16, died from their wounds. Lane has been charged with three juvenile counts of aggravated murder, as well as two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of felonious assault.

  • On March 1, Arthur J. Tineo, who lived a block from Willcox (Ariz.) High School, allegedly fired a rifle at the campus. One student suffered minor cuts from flying glass when the car he was riding in was shot at. Another juvenile in the same car escaped injury, and one school employee was fired upon, but was not hit, as he was trying to clear the area during the shooting. Tineo has been charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder; prohibited possession of a firearm; disorderly conduct with a weapon; two counts of discharging of a firearm in the city; assault; endangerment; aggravated assault of a teacher; aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; and two counts of assault.

  • On March 3, students were in line to go through security screening before classes at Infinity Chicago, an alternative high school, when Christian Gonzalez, 17, allegedly attacked Chris Wormely, 17, by stabbing him in the neck and back. During the attack, a third student who attempted to break up the attack was "sliced" by the knife, prosecutors say. Gonzalez is being charged as an adult with first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing.

  • On March 6, a man who was fired from a private school in Jacksonville, Fla., returned to campus with a gun and shot the headmistress to death before committing suicide.

The list seems to go on and on. Although schools have taken measures to prevent school violence from happening, obviously there is more work to do. And the memories, unfortunately, are ones that last a lifetime.

Lustig is executive editor of AS&U.

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