Gema is an 18-year old from Miami, FL. She loves reading and writing young adult fiction and claims to pass out in the presence of sterile wit.
The term teen violence has been used so often that it’s lost all meaning. It’s an abstract concept that teens hear about over and over again but they don’t comprehend the peril until they experience it. When I was in high school, students rolled their eyes when teachers said things like: “Please don’t let me catch you with a pocket knife. I will have to report you.”
“Why would anyone bring a knife to school?”
That’s a very good question.
I knew teen violence was “bad” in the way I know teen pregnancy is “bad.” It’s something we all know and hear about in a negative tone but don’t really care to thumb through the specifics. So I was shocked to find such a vast bank of teen murder cases in schools. It may be an eighteen-year old’s innocence, but in the back of my mind I always thought that someone being killed in a school was so shocking that the news channels reported every single case that came up. That’s not exactly true. I was surprised to see that some local cases weren’t even mentioned in some teen violence sites. At a glance, the teen violence timelines available online seem endless; the methods of violence are shocking and their ends tragic.
Compiled below are some cases of teen violence in the past decade. It is by no means a complete list since there are too many to count. There are no happy endings and I’m not about to pretend that I know a way to provide one. I’m still befuddled as to how setting a classmate on fire can be justified in the mind of thirteen and fifteen year olds, (Miami, FL, October 2009.) I just know that Kumbaya will not help in these situations. I hope that these examples can show teens how nothing positive can result from teen violence. I also hope that the need for a list like this will diminish in the next decade.
Mar. 10, 2000:19-year-old Stacy Smalls and 16-year-old Ramone Kimble died from gunshot wounds they suffered as they were leaving a dance honoring the Savannah, Ga. Beach High School girls basketball state championship team. Darrell Ingram, 19, was arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault.
May 26, 2000: In Lake Worth, Fla., 13-year-old honor student Nathaniel Brazill shot a teacher in the face, killing him. Police said the seventh-grader had been sent home for throwing water balloons and returned to the school with a handgun he found in his grandfather’s dresser
Mar. 5, 2001: 15-year-old Charles Andrew Williams was arrested for killing two classmates, and wounding 13 other people, at Santana High School in Santee, Calif. In August 2002, he received a 50-year to life sentence.
Mar 26, 2001 – An arson fire at the Kyanguli Secondary school in Kenya killed 67 students. Two students were charged with murder.
Jan. 15, 2002- (New York, N.Y.) A teenager wounded two students at Martin Luther King Jr. High School. (From: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777958.html)
Apr. 14, 2003: Gunmen armed with an AK-47 rifle and a handgun opened fire in the packed gymnasium of John McDonogh Senior High School in New Orleans. Jonathan Williams, 15, was killed and three girls were wounded in a spray of bullets. It was thought to be a revenge killing for an earlier murder. A loaded handgun was found on the victim. Four suspects were arrested.
Apr. 24, 2003: In Red Lion, Pa., 14-year old James Sheets shot and killed his middle school principal Eugene Segro in a crowded school cafeteria and then killed himself.
May 7, 2004: Four teenagers leaving a charity basketball game at their Randallstown, Maryland, high school were wounded, one critically, in a drive-by shooting. Among the suspects was a 17-year-old student at the school who had been involved in an earlier incident over a girl.
Nov. 24, 2004: James Lewerke, a 15-year-old student at Valparaiso High School in northern Indiana, pulled two large knives out of his pants and stabbed seven of his classmates. None of the injuries was life-threatening.
Mar 21, 2005: Jeff Weise, 16, shot to death his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend and then went to his high school in Red Lake, Minnesota, where he killed a security guard, a teacher, and five students, and wounded seven others, before killing himself.
Sept. 29, 2006: Eric Hainstock, 15, took two guns into his Cazenovia, Wi., school and fatally shot the principal before being captured and arrested.
April 16, 2007– (Blacksburg, Va.) A 23-year-old Virginia Tech student, Cho Seung-Hui, killed two in a dorm, then killed 30 more 2 hours later in a classroom building. His suicide brought the death toll to 33, making the shooting rampage the most deadly in U.S. history. Fifteen others were wounded.
Sept. 21, 2007– (Dover, Del.) A Delaware State Univesity Freshman, Loyer D. Brandon, shot and wounded two other Freshman students on the University campus. Brandon is being charged with attempted murder, assault, reckless engagement, as well as a gun charge.
Nov. 12, 2008– (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) A 15-year-old female student was shot and killed by a classmate at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale.
*Didn’t appear on these previous timelines but in September 2009, 17-year old high school student in Miami, Florida stabbed a classmate during a fight. He said he packed the knife because the victim had given him a “bad face.”
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