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Religious Tolerance logo

About violence


Shootings, other violence, and bullying in American schools

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Latest shool murders:

2010-FEB-13: Dr. Amy Bishop, 42, a biology professor at the University of Alabama - Huntsville allegedly shot six colleagues in the Biology department during a regular faculty meeting. Three died. She allegedly wounded three others. She had just been fired, with her termination effective on the day of the shooting. Twenty-four years earlier, she had shot and killed her brother in an incident that was ruled to be an accident. Seven years earlier, she was a suspect with her husband in a letter-bomb case. In 2011-SEP, she pled not guilty by reason of insanity to the killings and attempted killings. 8,9

2012-FEB-28: A 17-year-old male allegedly shot at five students in the cafeteria of Chardon High School in Chardon OH. Three died. Some students say that the alleged shooter was frequently harassed; others say that he had a good support network of friends. A prosecutor described the alleged shooter as "someone who's not well." 10

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  • "They were tired of those who were insulting them, harassing them. They weren't going to take this anymore and they wanted to stop it. Unfortunately, that's [exactly] what they did." Eric Veik, friend of Harris and Klebold, the two shooters at Columbine school. 1

  • "...much violence begins when schools and school groups 'stereotype, judge, marginalize and exclude other people.'" United Church of Christ, General Synod's daily news. 2

  • "I am sorry that it led to this. None of it should have happened. If only they would have understood, then you would still be alive." [Signed] Everyone" Message left on a placard by one of the 100 students who attended Tempest Smith's funeral. 3
  • "If you're a little different, some kids can make your life an absolute hell." Jean Vasquez, a student who twice tried to commit suicide while in middle school. 3

  • "People search in vain for some event or factor in the background of these child murderers.  They seek in vain, for it is what is NOT present that matters.  It is the absence of physical punishment, the only thing savages understand..." 4

  • "[T]he government is to blame because they took the paddle away from the schoolteacher." 5
  • "[I]f the paddle was still in schools you wouldn't have problems... maybe, if there was disiplin (sic), [at the Columbine High School shooting] never would have happened." 6

  • "[Mitchell] Johnson brought a pocket knife to school, and rumors spread through the hallways that he had been paddled for the violation, a practice allowed in Arkansas schools" (O'Brien, 1998). One of my own informants told me, "I spoke with the reporter in Jonesboro and he told me he definitely would not write about the paddling in the local newspaper, The Jonesboro Sun. When I asked him why, he said he's sick of people blaming Southern culture for the shooting." 7

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Topics covered in this section:

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Trench coat warfare? Group opposed blacks, Hispanics, Jews and Jocks," ABC News. Online at:
  2. Tim Kershner, "Synod calls for action on school violence," United Church of Christ, General Synod daily news, at:
  3. George Hunter, "Teasing and taunting led girl to end her life; Pressures that prompted mass shootings also spur quiet suicides," The Detroit News, 2001-MAR-7, at:
  4. Dr. H, "Guns and Draconian Measures," 1998, at:
  5. CJ Online's Community News: Gun control viewed as misfire," Topeka Capital-Journal, 1999-MAY-31 at:
  6. Citation no longer available
  7. E. O'Brien, "Arkansas boys showed a taste for violence," The Boston Globe, 1998-MAR-26.
  8. "Motive in Question as Professor Faces Murder Charge in Alabama Campus Shooting," Fox News, 2010-FEB-13, at:
  9. "2010 University of Alabama in Huntsville shooting," Wikipedia, as on 2012-JAN-10, at:
  10. "Teen appears in court after Ohio school shooting," News 4, KRNV Reno, 2012-FEB-27, at:

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Copyright © 1999 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 1999-JUN 
Latest update: 2012-AUG-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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