Last night, I watched the movie Heathers with a friend. I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting, but a dark comedy was not it. Heathers is a super dark comedy about the popular girls in school and what happens when a popular girl and her new boyfriend decide to get even. There is more violence than I expected.
Of course, this movie about school violence got me wondering about other incidences of school violence. The boyfriend in the movie wore a long black trench-like coat, just like the two students at Columbine. We couldn't remember when Columbine happened, so we checked out the wikipedia page (1999, for the record). When I was at that page, there was some information on other deadly incidences in schools.
Imagine my shock to learn about the Bath School Disaster. In 1927, a bomber at a school killed 38 school kids and a handful of adults (teachers and rescue workers). He was apparently upset by taxes levied for the school that "caused" his farm to go into foreclosure. It is interesting to hear that taxes, foreclosures, and the like are absolutely nothing new. This man did quite a bit of planning over a number of months, including smuggling explosives into the school slowly over time. There is further intrigue in this story on the long wikipedia article (linked above) if you're interested in further reading.
As someone going into the teaching business, this whole business of bullying and school violence has been on my mind a lot recently. So has school funding. I have been doing some good classroom management reading. In one piece, the author cited a statistic that 50% of kids report having been bullied at least once or twice in a 6 month period. This is significantly higher than the incidences of overt misbehavior in a classroom. While bullying wasn't the issue in the Bath School Disaster, it was in Heathers and may have been in Columbine and other school shootings. And the Bath School Disaster still involved taxes and disagreements similar to what we're seeing today in our political discourse. In all of this (bullying, taxes, schools), my main plea is for civility and understanding. I intend to be the kind of teacher that encourages conversation and does not allow boorish behavior. In my eyes, all of us standing up for reason, conversation, understanding, and patience is the only way to forge ahead and make a stronger future in all senses.