Gunslinger At The Middle School

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

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? Your relevant comments about this post or any of the other posts are always welcome on the website.

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

Thank you for reading and caring about children!

-Robin

Link to Amazon

Find out what the students, parents, and staff at

Blackstone Academy are up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT, an entertaining Mystery/Thriller novel.

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 Amazon

Find out what the students, parents, and staff at

Blackstone Academy are up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT

an entertaining Mystery/Thriller novel.

Available at Amazon

School Violence: How Do We Make It Stop?

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

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

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #106One of the saddest experiences I’ve had in life was to attend a candlelight vigil at my hometown elementary school after the beloved principal was gunned down in his office.

There seem to be a few commonalities between school shootings. Retaliation for bullying is high on the list. A gang war isn’t a surprise. The love triangle is shocking.

BLOG POST #106: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a high school shooting.

Children are a large part of the problem and need to be  involved in the solution.

How Does a Bully Choose a Victim?

Quantifying bullying is hard. One person can respond to criticism and ridicule with a shrug of their shoulders. Another person may retreat, be fearful and become depressed.

Being a kid is tough. When you add low self-esteem, low self-worth, body image, difficult home life, or any of the myriad of challenging scenarios children must overcome, and you have a prime candidate for bullying.

Females respond to bullying differently than males because the male ego is in play. And it seems boys during the years when hormones are raging are the most volatile.

Nothing, absolutely nothing justifies responding to any event with violence.

How Not to Respond to Bullying

The 15-year-old boy had been attending the high school for one year. His relative said he’d mentioned he was being bullied. They didn’t realize it was as bad as it must have been. Another relative was unaware the young boy had searched her home and found a gun.

Upon arriving at school, the 15-year-old and the other boy, the one he claimed was a bully, met near the entrance of the school. It was a normal day for the other students until two shots rang out.

The 15-year-old shooter dropped the gun and turned himself in to the principal to await law enforcement.

The alleged bully was shot twice and taken to a hospital where he spent two months in intensive care.

The community, staff, parents, and classmates held a candlelight vigil at the school. Getting together after a tragedy is both heartbreaking and healing.

Schools Cannot Stop School Violence

The authorities arrested the shooter and charged him with assault with a deadly weapon. His case was transferred from juvenile court to adult court. The 15-year-old was sentenced to 6 years and 10 months in state prison.

During the investigation, it became known the shooter had been charged with stabbing another student at the previous high school. This made me wonder if bullying was at the core of the conflict or did the shooter have violent tendencies.

Teachers teach. Principals make sure schools run efficiently, stay within a budget, and monitor student achievement. Most schools don’t have marshals or resource officers to police the campuses. The staff whose job it is to ‘monitor’ students is often a woman or older person supplementing a retirement. There are also custodians, librarians, computer techs, classroom aides, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, etc. At most schools, nobody is trained to be aware of building tension between students, nor are they trained to derail an altercation or anticipate looming violence.

I believe students are one of the keys to ending school violence. When community leaders, law enforcement, school administration, and parents get together to brainstorm methods to end school violence they seldom include students. In my opinion, if children aren’t part of the solution, the solution will fail.

I was chatting with someone in the United Kingdom the other day; he mentioned a school massacre that happened there in 1996. Sixteen children and one adult were killed that day. In response to this shooting, tighter private ownership gun restrictions were enacted. They haven’t had a school massacre since.

Is tighter gun control the answer? One thing is certain; people are passionate about their opinions on both sides of this debate.

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

Find out what the students, parents, and staff at

Blackstone Academy are up to in

Link to AmazonUNKNOWN THREAT

an entertaining Mystery/Thriller novel.

Available at Amazon

Planned Attack at the Middle School

 

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

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

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #101Because you’re reading this post, I’m certain you care about children. If you’ve read other posts you know my blog posts are not your typical feel-good post where you’ll receive recipes or DIY tips. If this is your first one, the information I share is sad and infuriating as it’s the dark side of what’s happening at or connected to schools.

We all want school violence to end. Schools alone don’t seem to be able to turn it around. I believe if parents and the communities work with schools, we will see positive results.

Thank you for caring about children and for reading my post.

BLOG POST #101: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a 12-year-old middle school student.

What drives a nice, quiet, and kind of awkward 12-year-old kid, who likes music, and plays on the middle school football team to shoot his classmates?

Plotting a Murder

It happens more often these days, a frustrated victim of bullying decides to take matters into their hands.

Four days before the shooting, he wrote in his journal that by the time someone reads the entry he’d likely be in jail. A 12-year-old mind can’t understand what it means to be in jail because of his actions. And if he did, would he still follow through with his plan to seek revenge?

The day before his planned attack, the boy posted on social media, “tomorrow will be the first Monday that will be fun for me lol never thought I’d say that.” And then there was a mechanical issue at school and classes were canceled. On Tuesday, he carried out what he’d had planned for Monday.

Collateral Damage

The Governor of the state said, “The children who return to school tomorrow are not the same who went to school on Tuesday. They’re different.”

A witness said the boy didn’t have his backpack and he wasn’t wearing a school uniform. Instead, he had a duffle bag with a sawed-off shotgun and three shells. It seemed odd at the time but not something that made you think he was going to shoot people.

Exit Strategy

Neither of the two children injured, an 11-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, were his intended target when he opened fire in the gymnasium. The young shooter told an investigating officer one round of ammunition was for himself.

He may have taken his life or hurt another person had it not been for a heroic teacher who stepped in front of the gun and talked the boy into placing the gun on the floor.

All injuries sustained directly or by shrapnel were not life threatening.

Robbed of Joy and Happiness

Everyone injured in the shooting will recover from their physical wounds. It’s the emotional and mental wounds that may last a life time.

In juvenile court, the young boy pleaded no contest to three counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and carrying a firearm into a school, the same as a guilty plea in the adult court system.

At the young boy’s sentencing, his 16-year-old brother said to him, “I’m not that good of an older brother. I hardly ever listen to your problems. I should have been there for you when you needed me.”

The young boy was sentenced to a state juvenile incarceration facility until he turns 21. He may be released sooner if he successfully completes the required therapy, counseling, and rehabilitation.

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 Amazon

Available at AMAZON

Unknown Threat

Mystery/Thriller novel

When Bullying Turned Deadly

Blog Post #95

Thank you taking the time to read my post. Time is precious and we all have few minutes to spare. I try to keep my posts short.

Does it seem like bullying is out of control or is it just getting more press time? Either way, it needs to stop!

Armed with knowledge and determination, parents can make schools safer.

BLOG POST #95: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving several high school students.

Girl High School Students are Bullied More Often than Boys

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2015, 24.8% female high school students reported being bullied while at school, 15.8% of their male counterparts.

Boys Can Be Just as Mean as Girls

The victim was 16, an honor roll student, a basketball player, and a Junior ROTC cadet. His first job was at 14. He bought his first car, a BMW, with his money.

During his sophomore year, he gained weight. Students began to bully and tease him. He started skipping classes, his grades dropped, and he became truant.

Teenagers Have Underdeveloped Coping Skills

Rather than seeking treatment from the therapy his family had arranged he self-medicated with marijuana. He went from an outgoing teenager who always laughed about something and had lots of friends, to the kind of teenager who commanded respect from his former bullies.

There was a disagreement between the 16-year-old and another teenager. The other teen asked his two older brothers to help him ambush and rob the 16-year-old. The 16-year-old was lured away from school on the pretense of a drug deal. He went to a path, named ‘The Cut,’ which many kids used to walk from a nearby neighborhood, where they could park for free, to the school. The school had pay-to-park lots.

The older boys jumped the 16-year-old from behind and shot him six times. The victim fell to the ground where he was rolled over and shot again in the head, execution style. The 20-year-old gunman was arrested and later pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. Two of the three other teens involved were charged with Conspiracy to Commit a Felony.

The county attorney said, “When you get involved in the drug culture, anything can happen, including this.”

Action or Reaction? You Can’t Take it Back

The 20-year-old was sentenced to 75-years in prison with 25-years suspended. The 20-year-old did accept responsibility for his actions and gave a statement at his sentencing. In part, he said, “To my mother and [the victim’s] mother, I owe my greatest apologies to both of you. There is no excuse for my actions. I wish I could take it all back.”

What are your thoughts on 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 Amazon

Available at Amazon

UNKNOWN THREAT

Book 1 in the School Marshal Series

An entertaining Mystery/Thriller novel