April 20 will mark the 10th anniversary of the Columbine murders. Teacher Magazine is hosting a forum for discussion on what we’ve learned — or failed to learn — about school violence.
Psychologists now more widely accept that these high school gunmen suffered from personality disorders and that the media wrongly portrayed the shootings as simple bully retaliation.
Do you think we understand student violence better today than we did a decade ago? Are schools addressing student violence differently since Columbine? How has the Columbine shooting changed teaching? Are you personally worried about student violence? Is enough being done at the local and national level to prevent similar tragedies in the future?
Registration is required to join the discussion, but it’s free.
Coddling young delinquents is costly, writes Caitlin Flanagan in the Wall Street Journal. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were arrested for petty theft before the massacre — and allowed to return to school, she points out.
Today only the most incorrigible young offenders are removed from their guardians’ care and forced to live and study in correctional facilities. Furthermore, to expel a student in most public school districts is an arduous business. An expulsion hearing is required, and parents may choose to appeal the decision, a process that rains down a world of legal woe on whatever teachers and administrators have been involved in the action.
In the attempt to rehabilitate delinquents, we leave their classmates at risk.
Update: Two fifth graders in San Jose were suspended for five days and transferred to another school for a switchblade attack on a classmate. One boy allegedly paid another to attack the victim, who dodged the knife and ran away. The school didn’t report the incident to the police. A district official told the victim’s mother that if she doesn’t want her son to attend middle school next year with the attackers, she should transfer him to another school. She plans to leave the district.