Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Keeping our powder dry

The spate of school shootings in the 1990s--which seem to be echoed in events of the past week--were horrific, but a statistical anomoly: school violence decreased during the 1990s, and schools were where children were least likely to be murdered.

But of course that's not how many people saw it, including fearful parents and anxious school administrators who worried they would be held responsible should something awful occur at their school. (The myths that surrounded the most notorious school shooting fueled the hysteria.) So they gave us a slew of bad policies that did not protect students but had potential to harm them. Like zero-tolerance policies that suspend or expel students for bringing harmless items or toy weapons to school. Like restrictions on student expression. Like school violence drills that needlessly frighten students. Not to mention the millions of dollars wasted on security devices and anti-violence programs.

The recent school shootings are unspeakable crimes. But they do not constitute an epidemic. I have hope, but little faith, that policymakers will keep their panic in check this time around.


Blogger Cope said...

I bet you wish you were still the education reporter so you could be assigned to fan the flames of hysteria.

12:19 AM

Blogger The T-Dude said...

Between the school shootings and the Internet wanderings of 52 year-old congressmen looking to "mentor" teenage congressional pages, it sure sounds like the perfect time for parental and legislative over-reaction.

11:20 AM

Blogger Maria said...

The worst school massacre was actually in 1927

The Bath School disaster was a series of bombings in Bath Township, Michigan, USA, on May 18, 1927, which killed 45 people and injured 58. Most of the victims were children in second to sixth grades attending the Bath Consolidated School. The bombings constituted the deadliest act of mass murder in a school in U.S. history, claiming more than three times as many victims as the Columbine High School massacre.

The perpetrator was school board member Andrew Kehoe, who was upset by a property tax that had been levied to fund the construction of the school building. He blamed the additional tax for financial hardships which led to foreclosure proceedings against his farm. These events apparently provoked Kehoe to plan his attack.

12:15 PM

Blogger Sean McDaniel said...

fanning the flames of hysteria ...pondering the over reaction of the media... reaching back in history to prove whatever point ...wouldn't it be nice to see a little respect for 5 children who were murdered — and 5 others who were wounded — instead of all the snarky, detached intellectualizing?

hey, cope and t-dude and maria and j. potts...read some of the stories in the PG and NYTimes about the way the Amish are reacting to the killing of their children. There are plenty of lessons to be learned in their quiet dignity.

as one non-Amish resident said of his Amish neighbors, "Their blood runs red."

I'm not sure what the comments in this line of posts says about the people who wrote them. but save the editorializing and irony for later.

and my god, j. potts, i really hope you don't possess the desire to fan flames of any sort after a senseless act such as this.

by the way, j. potts, i could imagine see you writing a touching post about the killings and using that neighbor's quote...

Their Blood Runs Red.

Too bad this one wasn't it.

10:54 PM


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