As I See It

School Shooting Opens Eyes To Bullying Students

    Every year that goes by I am more concerned about the safety of students attending school. This concern was present in my mind even before I retired as a School Administrator in 1991, but the concern became much greater when a 14 year-old boy opened fire on his algebra class in Moses Lake, Washington and killed two students and a teacher on February 2, 1996.  

    This represented the first documented school shooting in this country of which I am aware.  On April 20, 1999, 14 students (including killers) and one teacher were killed in Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado. This incident brought school shootings to the attention of people throughout this nation. Many other school shootings have occurred since this time and every single one of them brings chills down my back! I hope we never forget that these school shootings could get closer to home. All schools are susceptible to this type of crime.

   According to the records I have seen the worse of the school shootings occurred on April 16, 2007, when a 23-year old Virginia Tech student killed two students in a dorm, then killed 30 more 2 hours later in a classroom building. His suicide brought the death toll to 33 making the shooting rampage the most deadly in U.S. history. Fifteen others were wounded.

   My heart goes out to the families of those who lost their lives in this very tragic situation. This includes the family of Cho-Seung-Hui in South Korea. It is obvious that they are devastated by his actions that caused so much heartache not to mention the hurt they feel.

   If you have followed this column over the past year you will remember how much I wish that every school had a well-trained Guidance Counselor. Virginia Tech had counselors in place and in fact this young man had been referred for counseling and from there to the administration for some type of action to protect him and others. For reasons that I do not know, action to remove him from school was not taken and as a result 32 plus himself died. What a shame and want a waste indeed!

      Cho-Seung-Hui, according to his family had always been a troubled child. His grandmother said he would never talk to anyone including his mother. She stated Korean boys always would talk to their mother but not this child.

   According to news sources that I have read, while in a high school English Class he was asked by the teacher to read. He remained silent. When he was told by the teacher that he would receive an F for participation he attempted to read and at that time his classmates made fun of him and said “go back to Korea.” He had been “picked on” by classmates throughout school. School shooters have usually been those who had always been left out and “made fun of.” Ms. Beth Hardin, Superintendent of Calhoun County Schools told me last Friday that she strongly felt that school personnel should come down hard on students who made fun of others. I totally agree. Who knows that if we don’t we may be growing a school shooter among us.

   God forbid.

 “Billy McCord is a retired school administrator and an Elder in the United Methodist Church. He is Pastor of the Pittsboro and Shady Grove UM Churches in Calhoun County. He is a member of the Calhoun County School Board. Contact him: billymc@tycom.net)

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