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School Violence Erupts

 in January and February 2002


   February 28, 2002

Let's Stop the violence! 

    See how KEYS can help!!

"School Shooting Map

School Violence Erupts in Jan & Feb 2002This article is a brief look at violence during January and February of 2002 that impacted schools across America. Unfortunately, the list in not complete. Events such as the Olympics and the War on Terrorism has overshadowed violence on school campuses. Readers are encouraged to contact with reports of violence that might not otherwise be published and circulated. Only as we admit there is a serious problem can we hope to have resources committed to solutions.

Feb 25, PINETOPS, NC, -- A list that threatened some faculty members and students at Southwest Edgecombe High School was discovered when a student reported the threat to authorities.

No one was immediately charged, although a 15-year-old male student was detained and a 17-year-old female student was questioned.

"A student reported a rumor of potential danger," Diane LeFiles, a spokeswoman for the Edgecombe County schools, said at a news conference Monday. "We're very pleased that this young person spoke to a trusted adult." [Kids are the Keys Assembly]

Sheriff James Knight said he was considering charges of disorderly conduct, conspiracy to commit a felony and a third charge he would not identify.

"In today's society you can't take anything lightly," Knight said. "The list, combined with other things, was enough to take it seriously." [Certification Training to Assess At-Risk Students]

Knight would not disclose specifics about threats or the number of faculty members and students who were threatened.

The people named on the list were advised of the threat, he said.

Feb 22, Osceola, FL - "I brought a gun to school with bullets and I know how to load it," the boy wrote in a statement taken by the school. A 10-year-old boy was arrested Thursday for bringing a gun to Thacker Avenue Elementary School. Other students alerted a School Resource Officer (SRO) that the boy had bullets. Officer Wes, as he is know to the kids, told an official at Keys, "The kids have learned through past experiences that they can talk to me. I think there are two reasons for that; [Kids are the Keys Assembly]

  1. They know I will take action and 

  2. they know that I will not let anyone know who told me. They have a real fear of reprisals so this second item is very important."

The officer found the bullets, and after talking to the boy, learned the child had brought a 9-millimeter Glock handgun to school. The student’s mother had noticed her gun was missing and came to school where she retrieved the gun without telling anyone.

The officer was familiar with this child because he had made comments about shooting several students and his teacher in January, officials said. The student told SRO Wes Erickson that he had planned to shoot another student who had been picking on him after several other pupils said that the boy had bullets from a 9 mm Glock pistol in his possession [Certification Training to Assess At-Risk Students]. The investigation did not find anything criminal and the matter was handled within school policy, reports said.

The boy’s faces up to 10 days of out-of-school suspension and an expulsion recommendation to the Osceola County School Board, according to school policy.

Feb 12, Chicago, IL - Three people were injured outside of Roosevelt High School last week [Crisis Response Plan Training]. All three were treated at and have since been released from hospitals. None of the three victims was an intended target in the shooting, according to police. A fact that some students feel makes the situation even scarier for them. The gunman was firing at another student who was running from him. Fifteen-year-old Jose Vega was charged as an adult for Thursday's shootings outside Roosevelt High School. Twenty-one-year-old Jason Chavez has also been charged. Investigators said he may have helped start a fight, which led to the shootings.

Chicago Public School Chief Arne Duncan met with Roosevelt High staff Friday morning to talk about their concerns and school safety. "I feel very, very good about the level of safety in our school building," Duncan said. "We have a great security team. We have the metal detectors that everyone passes through." [Crisis Response Plan Training]

Feb 7, GARDENA, CA - A gunman and two accomplices who tried to rob two students at Gardena High School and then shot them remained at large Thursday, authorities said. [ Visitor Badge Security Program ]

Feb 6, Madison, WI, - A 16 year old male student is dead after a basketball game between rivals Vincent and Washington High Schools ended in a parking lot fight and gunfire [Conflict Resolution Training]. Police Lieutenant Steven Spingola said shots were fired just before 9 p.m. in a post-game brawl involving about 100 people outside Vincent on the city's far northwest side.[ Visitor Badge Security Program ]

Witnesses reported that there were scuffles among the rival fans during game but no specific motive was identified. One witness said that the victim was his cousin, Joseph Johnson, jr. Elliot Brown went on to say that he was driving away when he saw the brawl erupt and he turned around. He then heard two shots and found his 16 year old cousin with a gunshot wound to the head and not moving. [Crisis Response Plan Training]

Deputy Superintendent Willie Jude said that the dead student was from Washington, and the gunman was believed to be an older non-student. Jude said the incident occurred outside the school after the ball game, and Washington Principal Nancy Conner was one of the first people on the scene. Jude said extra security and counselors would be at Washington the day following the shooting.

Jan 30, ZANESVILLE, OH - Zanesville City Schools closed Wednesday following a shooting at the school bus garage [Crisis Response Plan Training]. Ron Melvin Sr., 59, a maintenance worker, apparently shot Debra Law, a bus driver, three times inside a school bus and then shot and killed himself. [Anger Management/De-escalation Training] There were no students aboard the bus as the shooting occurred around 6:20 a.m. Wednesday before school started. The bus drivers were preparing for their routes when Melvin shot Law.

Jan 24, TOPEKA, KS, - An elementary school tour of a Mexican restaurant was disrupted Thursday morning when a manager was shot during a possible attempted robbery, police said. [Crisis Response Plan Training] The 28 first-graders and their parents heard but didn't see the shooting at Carlos O'Kelly's Mexican Cafe that critically injured Robert L. Fraser, 51. A parent said the shooting happened in a hallway that was about 15 feet from the kitchen where the tour was being given. No one else was hurt.

A parent of one of the first-grader said his daughter told him that she had heard the victim moaning.

"I don't know how much they really understood what had happened," the parent said of the students. "All they knew was that something scary had just occurred."

After the shooting, the children returned to school, where counselors were available [Helping Kids Cope with Crisis]

Jan 17, GRUNDY, VA - A suspended student shot and killed three people at a law school in southwest Virginia's coal country on Wednesday -- including the school's dean -- and wounded three others. [Certification Training to Assess At-Risk Students]

Jan 12, GREELEY, CO, - A Greeley math teacher has tearfully apologized after allegedly threatening to shoot a class of seventh-graders, but some of those students still say her words were frightening. [Anger Management/De-escalation Training]

Police and school officials are investigating statements made during class by Heath Middle School teacher Janet Willis, 43, a 20-year teaching veteran in Weld County School District 6.

A student in the class, age 13, said Willis was frustrated because several students had repeatedly forgotten to bring their textbooks and homework. When a student asked what would happen if they continued to forget the items, Willis replied, "Then I'll shoot you." According to this student, the teacher then asked another student, "Do you want to be my first victim?"

Greeley Schools Superintendent Tony Pariso said Heath Principal Rangel and the school district's human resources director are investigating the incident.

"Her status, in the meantime, is she is a teacher at Heath," Pariso said. "When we complete the personnel investigation, we will take whatever action is appropriate."

Jan 8, LOS ANGELES, - A drive-by shooting outside a Canoga Park continuation school today left a 16-year-old boy dead, police said. The teen-age victim, a student at West Valley Leadership School, reportedly staggered back into the school and collapsed. He was later taken to a hospital, where he died. [Crisis Response Plan Training]

It appeared that the victim and the suspect had argued outside the campus earlier in the day. The suspect and a second person returned in a gray pickup truck after the argument, and one round was fired from the passenger seat, striking the victim in the chest, according to a police spokesman. The suspects then fled in the truck, he added. No arrests had been made.

Once again we ask ourselves, "Have we done all that we can to insure the safety of our schools?" Keys To Safer is making a special offer to any school to review your crisis planning and provide a written critique of any shortcomings found. To take advantage of this offer, mail your school’s Crisis Plan and supporting documents to:

Keys To Safer
P.O. Box 296
Bryant, AR 72089-0296.

Visit the Keys website for valuable information and resource material on school violence prevention at

Programs to Combat Violence

Reported By:
Frank Green
Keys To Safer

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