Breaking Up Can Be Deadly

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Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #131When you’re in high school, being popular doesn’t necessarily make life easier. It can be just as difficult as being the lowest kid in the pecking order.

Like everyone, popular kids have the negative voice in their head telling them they’re fat or worthless, etc. Popular kids can come from turbulent homes.

BLOG POST #131: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a popular high school student.

You’d think the popular football player, recently crowned Homecoming Prince, would be on top of the world. Instead, like so many teenagers, he kept his troubles inside.

Kids Will Be Kids – Right?

His parents didn’t understand the depth of their son’s depression. They knew he and his longtime girlfriend had broken up after Homecoming. And they knew he’d gotten into an altercation with another football player and was suspended for a few days.

Before school, his pleading texts to his ex-girlfriend went unanswered.

Not A Normal Day

To his mother, it was a normal day when she dropped her son off at school the same as she had done every day.

She didn’t know the day was far from normal. She had no clue her son had taken his father’s guns and ammunition with him that day.

Keep Your Friends Close

He asked friends to meet him in the cafeteria for first lunch. The friends joined him at a lunch table.

When he texted a photo of a gun to his ex-girlfriend, she called him, and they talked briefly.

And Then He Snapped

After the phone call with his ex-girlfriend, he bolted from his seat and shot his friends one by one—five friends.

He reloaded, and then shot himself.

Including the shooter, four kids died that day, and two were critically wounded.

Minutes before shooting anyone, he had texted a group of family members and apologized to the families of his victims. He said he needed to take his crew with him; he didn’t want to go alone.

Here’s my ‘Take Away’ on this case: Case after case, I read about parents who never thought their child would do what they did. And I’m not implying this tragedy wouldn’t have happened had the boy’s parents paid more attention to their son’s depression. At some point parents need to consider if their child is “down” about something they very well may be capable of suicide or murder-suicide.

What do you think about this case? 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.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel NovellaFind out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

The Tragic Death Of A Caring Educator

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Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #129Sadly, there was another school shooting this week. My thoughts and prayers go out to all who lost their loved one, to those injured, and to those who were frightened by the event.

Perpetrators of school shootings act for a broad range of reasons. And it isn’t always a student looking down the barrel of a gun.

BLOG POST #129: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific case involving a special needs teacher and her estranged husband.

Not Happily Ever After

The teacher and her husband dated for four years before they married. He was a pastor with a criminal history. She was known as a caring educator with a special affinity for working with children with learning disabilities.

The teacher’s mother was reported to have said her son-in-law changed after the two married. He began criticizing and belittling her daughter.

Three months after they wed, the teacher moved out.

Trouble Found Her At Work

A few weeks after the teacher moved out, her estranged husband walked into the school and used the pretense of dropping off something for his wife. He entered her elementary classroom, with 15 sets of little eyes watching, he shot and killed his wife before taking his own life. Gunfire also hit two students; one was fatally wounded.

The Rest Of The Story

To aid in the recovery from the horrific event, over the summer, the school received a $1 million makeover.

As parents arrived on the first day of school, they noticed a slowdown when entering the building. New security measures were in place at the entrance. Upon entering the school, they saw the hallways had been repainted with bright colors and featured inspirational quotes.

Memories of our lives, of our work and our deeds will continue in others.” – Rosa Parks

Tempered glass now lined the large windows in the interior classrooms. Classrooms now have locking steel doors and an exterior exit. The special needs classroom where the deadly shooting took place is now a project room, and the number on the door was changed. The special needs students have a new classroom across the hall.

Returning to a campus after an act of violence has occurred is extremely difficult. I applaud the school district for their effort to make the school as welcoming and positive as possible.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, here’s some helpful information: Domestic Violence & Abuse

Worth mentioning: The Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness reports 75% of domestic violence related homicides occur upon separation.

Here’s my ‘Take Away’: Schools can’t be expected to do background checks on coworkers’ spouses. Domestic violence is tricky, the person being abused is often afraid to say anything for fear the abuse will intensify or worse. There are always a few friends who know or strongly suspect what’s happening. Does the spouse excessively boast about how wonderful life is? That’s a clue; life may be far from wonderful. Whenever your gut tells you something is off, speak to the principal so he or she can know to be leery of the spouse.

What do you think about this case? 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.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading and caring about children!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel Novella

Find out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

Gunslinger At The Middle School

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Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

School violence, when it takes a deadly turn, is hard to comprehend. For as long as there have been schools, there have been fights between students. But school violence now happens far too frequent.

BLOG POST #121: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving middle school students.

Because it was an intensely cold winter morning, the middle school started two hours late.

Better To Have Stayed Home

The 14-year-old student skipped his morning classes to prepare for his afternoon assault.

Before leaving for school, he armed himself with his father’s fully loaded weapons; rifle, revolver and semiautomatic pistol. He strapped to his chest and waist three belts of additional ammunition and packed a speed loader for the revolver.

He removed the inside pocket on a long black trench coat to conceal the rifle as he walked to school. The news reported he looked like a gunslinger.

Armed and ready, he entered his fifth-period algebra class and shot his intended target, a classmate who did not survive. It’s unknown why he targeted this boy.

The next two victims, two more classmates, were shot as they dropped to the floor to crawl under their desks, one survived with extensive injuries.

When the teacher cried out, “No, no,” he shot her as well, she also did not survive.

That Which Does Not Kill Us Makes Us Stronger – Friedrich Nietzsche

Upon hearing the gunshots, a P.E. Teacher ran into the classroom. He dove toward the injured teacher. The shooter told the P.E. Teacher to stand up, or he would shoot another student. He did and then talked the shooter into allowing a few students to assist the injured teacher out of the classroom along with a diabetic student.

The student who survived went on to become involved in Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE).

Nowhere To Run

Police tried to hostage negotiate with the shooter which resulted in escalating his agitation.

Deciding he needed coverage in case there were snipers he told the P.E. Teacher to stand near him and put the end of the rifle in his mouth. When the heroic teacher appeared to comply, the shooter wasn’t expecting the teacher to grab the gun and pin him against the wall. He then told the students to run.

The police stormed the classroom and handcuffed the shooter.

Juvenile Or Adult?

The shooter’s case was sent to adult court, where he pleaded insanity.

At the trial, the defense team had an expert testify the shooter suffered from depression and bipolar disorder. The prosecution also had an expert testify he suffered from dysthymic disorder, hyperactivity, and clinical depression. He was taking Ritalin at the time of the shooting.

The 14-year-old troubled boy was found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder, one count of first-degree attempted murder, and 16 counts of aggravated kidnapping.

Without Parole: With Parole

He was sentenced to serve two life sentences plus an additional 205 years without the possibility of parole.

However, in 2012, a U.S. Supreme Court ruled people younger than 16 could not receive life sentences without parole. Twenty-one years after the shooting, a judge resentenced him to 189 years.

Worth mentioning: Juvenile court makes a decision to keep a case or move a case to adult court based on the best interest of the juvenile or the public, and taking into account eight standards set out in Kent v. the United States also known as the ‘Kent Factors.’

(1) The seriousness of the charged offense and whether protection of the community requires prosecution in adult court.

(2) Whether the offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, premeditated or willful manner.

(3) Whether the offense was against persons or property.

(4) The prosecutive merit of the case.

(5) Whether the defendant had an adult accomplice.

(6) The defendant’s sophistication and maturity.

(7) The defendant’s prior record.

(8) The prospects for adequate protection of the public and rehabilitation of the juvenile in the juvenile system.

My heart goes out to all families who have suffered because of school violence. And my sincere condolences go to those who have lost a loved one.

What do you think about this case? 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.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel NovellaFind out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna  is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

Two Troubled Teens’ Mass Shooting Plot

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #114Before the Internet and social media, teenage girls wrote their deepest and darkest thoughts in a private diary or a journal.

Nowadays when a teenager writes their deepest and darkest thoughts on social media platforms, they seem to forget their words are open to the world.

In this case, both methods of expression backfired for the two girls involved.

Thank you for your continued support, for your interest in my research, and most importantly for caring about children.

BLOG POST #114: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving two 16-year-old high school girls.

After the mass killing at Columbine, many law enforcement agencies and schools implemented a system for anonymous crime tips called Text-A-Tip.

Someone used the Text-A-Tip system to notify authorities about the claims of death and destruction two girls were spouting.

Close to the same time the tip was received, a peer told authorities what they received from a friend (one of the girls named in the Text-A-Tip) via the social media platform, SnapChat. Messages like; “I’m gonna kill everyone here lol” and “I’m gonna shoot up the school.”

A Troubled Teen’s Pain

A Children’s Hospital evaluated the girl who sent the SnapChat messages. A few days later, her mother called authorities after discovering journals detailing a planned attack at her daughter’s high school.

Dear God, maybe if you’d made me pretty inside and out I’d be like sugar and spice…”

Here’s a page from one of the girl’s journal. The troubled teen’s pain screams from the page. Journal Page

The Plot Develops

During the investigation, a Tumblr account and Weebly page were found featuring the girls’ journal writings, poetry and a mini-biography with references to school shootings.

The girls had researched female gunmen, how to buy a gun, how to make a bomb, and made a crude explosive device that failed to explode.

The girls had drawn maps of the school showing student movement and the schedule of a police officer assigned to the facility.

One girl’s plot included killing her mother and sister. Both girls planned to kill themselves after they had killed others.

A Threat Is A Crime

Both girls were arrested and charged as adults with felony counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

One of the girls pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in adult court, and guilty to solicitation to commit murder in juvenile court. The judge sentenced her to three years in a youth incarceration facility, and four years supervised probation. If she completes the sentence, her adult felony conviction could be sealed.

At the sentencing, the judge said, “It is a serious matter when someone puts down in writing that they want to die, that they want to kill others.”

On her behalf, the other girl’s attorney has filed a reverse-transfer of her criminal case from adult trial court to juvenile court. The outcome for her is still to be determined.

Marital troubles in both homes playing a role in the girls’ depression. One girl’s parents were divorced, the other girl’s parent are still together. An unhappy home isn’t to blame, but is often linked to children who act out.

If you found this case interesting, you’ll also want to read this post: When A Teenager Makes Threats On Social Media

What do you think about this case? 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.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel NovellaFind out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna  is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

A Plan To Murder Bullies

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #110Whether it’s a case of school violence or about bullying, the two crimes are often connected. When bullying goes unreported it becomes he said/she said and too often the victim becomes the criminal.

In my opinion, parents and grandparents should continuously talk about bullying with children and stress it’s okay to speak up, in fact, it’s imperative.

BLOG POST #110: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving two high school boys and their plan to kill.

Two boys, a 14 and a 15-year-old made a plan to kill faculty and students at their high school.

Loose Lips Foil Plans

Thankfully, kids talk. The two boys had to have said something to someone who took their intentions seriously and told the school administration. The school administration detained the two boys and searched their backpacks.

Found in the backpacks were detailed plans and evidence showing the two had conducted surveillance of specific staff members to know where they would be at the time of the event.

Vigilance Required In The Lunchroom

Both boys’ homes were searched. The boys had gathered fireworks, gunpowder, and fuses to make pipe bombs. They had planned to hide a duffel bag at the school filled with guns, ammo, bombs, gas masks, and chloride gas to be readily available. The attack was to take place during lunch time.

It was a plan of revenge for being bullied by staff members and classmates.

From my research, attacks are often planned to take place at lunch. It’s my assumption the targeted kids are expected to be together at that time. Whereas at any other time of the school day, the kids would be in classes.

Upon entering the lunch hall, the first victim would have been the resource officer (campus security). The principal was on the list as well. Knowing the school would go into lockdown mode, they planned to bring an ax to bust into locked classrooms.

Formative Years Lost

While being transported to the law enforcement center, the older boy told an officer he was glad they were stopped before anything happened.

Both teens pleaded no contest to the charge of conspiracy to commit capital murder. No contest in juvenile court is the same as guilty in adult court.

At the sentencing hearing, the principal asked for a “very severe penalty,” contending the teen’s actions “created fear, anxiety, and disruptions for thousands of students and staff.”

The judge sentenced both boys to serve three years and nine months in juvenile custody, followed by three years of aftercare.

If you found this case interesting, you’ll also want to read, Planned Attack at the Middle School, where a 12-year-old had a similar plan.

What do you think about this case? Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

 

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel NovellaFind out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon