DEADLY LESSONS

UNDERSTANDING LETHAL SCHOOL VIOLENCE

Case Studies of School Violence Committee



Mark H. Moore, Carol V. Petrie, Anthony A. Braga, and Brenda L. McLaughlin, editors

Committee on Law and Justice and Board on Children, Youth, and Families

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu



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Scientific and Policy Considerations in Developing Smallpox Vaccination Options: A Workshop Report DEADLY LESSONS UNDERSTANDING LETHAL SCHOOL VIOLENCE Case Studies of School Violence Committee Mark H. Moore, Carol V. Petrie, Anthony A. Braga, and Brenda L. McLaughlin, editors Committee on Law and Justice and Board on Children, Youth, and Families Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W.Washington, D.C.20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. The study was supported by Grant No. S184U000010 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Deadly lessons : understanding lethal school violence : case studies of School Violence Committee / Mark H. Moore ... [et al.], editors ; Committee on Law and Justice and Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-309-08412-1 (hardcover) 1. School violence—United States—Case studies. I. Moore, Mark Harrison. II. National Research Council (U.S.). School Violence Committee. III. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Law and Justice. IV. National Research Council (U.S.). Board on Children, Youth, and Families. LB3013.32 .D43 2002 371.7′82′0973—dc21 2002011776 Additional copies of this report are available from The National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Box 285, Washington, DC20055. Call (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) This report is also available online at http://www.nap.edu Printed in the United States of America Copyright 2003 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Suggested citation: National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. (2003) Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence. Case Studies of School Violence Committee. Mark H. Moore, Carol V. Petrie, Anthony A. Braga, and Brenda L. McLaughlin, editors. Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence CASE STUDIES OF SCHOOL VIOLENCE COMMITTEE MARK H. MOORE (Chair), John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University PHILIP J. COOK, Public Policy Studies, Duke University THOMAS A. DISHION, Department of Psychology, University of Oregon DENISE C. GOTTFREDSON, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland PHILIP B. HEYMANN, Harvard Law School, Harvard University JAMES F. SHORT, JR., Department of Sociology, Washington State University STEPHEN A. SMALL, Department of Child and Family Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison LEWIS H. SPENCE, Department of Social Services, Boston, Massachusetts LINDA A. TEPLIN, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Northwestern University CAROL PETRIE, Study Director ANTHONY A. BRAGA (Consultant), John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University BRENDA MCLAUGHLIN, Research Assistant LECIA QUARLES, Project Assistant (until March 2002) MICHELLE AUCOIN MCGUIRE, Project Assistant (after March 2002)

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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence COMMITTEE ON LAW AND JUSTICE CHARLES F. WELLFORD (Chair), Center for Applied Policy Studies and Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland JOAN PETERSILIA (Vice Chair), School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine ALFRED BLUMSTEIN, H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University JEANNETTE COVINGTON, Department of Sociology, Rutgers University RUTH DAVIS, The Pymatuning Group, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia JEFFREY FAGAN, Schools of Law and Public Health, Columbia University DARNELL HAWKINS, Department of African American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago PHILIP HEYMANN, Harvard Law School, Harvard University CANDACE KRUTTSCHNITT, Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota MARK LIPSEY, Department of Psychology and Human Development, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University COLIN LOFTIN, School of Criminal Justice, State University of New York at Albany JOHN MONAHAN, School of Law, University of Virginia DANIEL NAGIN, H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University PETER REUTER, School of Public Affairs and Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland WESLEY SKOGAN, Department of Political Science and Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University CATHY SPATZ WIDOM, Department of Psychiatry, New Jersey Medical School KATE STITH, School of Law, Yale University MICHAEL TONRY, Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University CAROL PETRIE, Director RALPH PATTERSON, Senior Project Assistant

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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence BOARD ON CHILDREN, YOUTH, AND FAMILIES MICHAEL COHEN (Chair), Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine JAMES A. BANKS, Center for Multicultural Education, University of Washington, Seattle THOMAS DEWITT, Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati MARY JANE ENGLAND, Washington Business Group on Health MINDY THOMPSON FULLILOVE, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University PATRICIA GREENFIELD, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles RUTH T. GROSS, Katherine Dexter and Stanley McCormick Memorial Professor of Pediatrics (emerita), Stanford University KEVIN GRUMBACH, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Primary Care Research Center, University of California, San Francisco NEAL HALFON, School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles MAXINE HAYES, Department of Community and Family Health, Washington State Department of Health MARGARET HEAGARTY, Department of Pediatrics, Harlem Hospital Center, Columbia University RENEE JENKINS, Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Howard University HARRIETT KITZMAN, School of Nursing, University of Rochester SANDERS KORENMAN, School of Public Affairs, Baruch College CINDY LEDERMAN, Circuit Court, Juvenile Justice Center, Dade County, Florida VONNIE MCLOYD, Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan GARY SANDEFUR, Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison ELIZABETH SPELKE, Department of Brain and Cognitive Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology RUTH STEIN, Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine ELEANOR E. MACCOBY (liaison from the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education), Department of Psychology (Emeritus), Stanford University WILLIAM ROPER (liaison from the Institute of Medicine), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill SUSAN K. CUMMINS, Director LISA TAYLOR, Senior Project Assistant ELENA O. NIGHTINGALE, Scholar-in-Residence

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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence Contents Preface   ix Executive Summary   1 1   Introduction   9 Part I: Case Studies of Lethal School Violence   17 2   The Copycat Factor: Mental Illness, Guns, and the Shooting Incident at Heritage High School, Rockdale County, Georgia Mercer L. Sullivan and Rob T. Guerette   25 3   Bad Things Happen in Good Communities: The Rampage Shooting in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, and Its Aftermath William DeJong, Joel C. Epstein, and Thomas E. Hart   70 4   A Deadly Partnership: Lethal Violence in an Arkansas Middle School Cybelle Fox, Wendy D. Roth, and Katherine Newman   101 5   No Exit: Mental Illness, Marginality, and School Violence in West Paducah, Kentucky David Harding, Jal Mehta, and Katherine Newman   132 6   Shooting at Tilden High: Causes and Consequences John Hagan, Paul Hirschfield, and Carla Shedd   163 7   What Did Ian Tell God?: School Violence in East New York Mindy Thompson Fullilove, Gina Arias, Moises Nunez, Ericka Phillips, Peter McFarlane, Rodrick Wallace, and Robert E. Fullilove III   198 8   A Cross-Case Analysis   247

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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence Part II: Understanding and Preventing Lethal School Violence   285 9   Lethal School Violence in Statistical Context   287 10   Literature Review   302 11   Response Strategies: Observations on Causes, Interventions, and Research   330 References   343 Appendixes     A Case Study Methodology and the Study of Rare Events of Extreme Youth Violence: A Multilevel Framework for Discovery Mercer L. Sullivan and Mindy Thompson Fullilove   351 B Biographical Sketches   364 Index   375

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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence Preface As the chair of the committee on studies of school violence, I would like to say on behalf of the committee that we felt privileged to have been given both the challenge and the opportunity to apply our collective knowledge to understanding as best we could the nature of the problem that the nation faced in dealing with the spate of school shootings that occurred in the late 1990s. Like all citizens, we were concerned about this apparently new and frightening phenomenon. As social scientists, we felt challenged by the task of making sense of something that seemed so new and so important. We hope we have used available knowledge of trends, literatures on violence, and the cases we commissioned to help the country as a whole understand the phenomenon we were asked to address. If we have done a good job, it is because we received some outstanding encouragement and help and we would like to acknowledge that fact here. First, we would like to thank Representative James Greenwood for challenging the committee to address itself to this issue, even though it involved tasks that are unusual for a National Academies Committee to undertake. We are grateful for his leadership in insisting that this work be done, and that we experiment with the use of detailed case studies as a way of illuminating the problem he wanted us to address. Second, we would like to thank the Committee on Law and Justice and the Board on Children, Youth, and Families for having the courage to approve the creation of a study committee with the unusual mandate that we had. We would also like to thank these committees as well as the

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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence National Academies for their support of our adherence to rigorous scientific standards as we did our work in reviewing the trends, examining the relevant literatures, and commissioning six new cases, and drawing tentative inferences from a cross-case analysis. Third, we would also like to thank the executive and professional staff of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE), National Research Council (NRC), which acted on a day-to-day basis to ensure that we were both responsive to our mandate and acting consistently within the highest NRC standards. Barbara Torrey and Eugenia Grohman provided invaluable guidance as we went along with our work. Those thanked above helped to create the opportunity for us to do the work and set the high standards that challenged us to do it well. We are also deeply grateful to those who helped us meet those standards. We are particularly grateful to our colleagues who took the responsibility for developing the cases: William DeJong, Mindy Fullilove, John Hagan, Katherine Newman, and Mercer Sullivan. Mercer and Mindy were involved in this effort from the beginning, and it was partly their deep understanding of what the case study method brings to scientific inquiry that gave us all the courage to go ahead with this unusual project. They not only developed outstanding cases, but also kept us all focused on the important scientific methodological research involved in the use of cases for scientific inquiry. Mindy also served the committee exceptionally well by continuing to insist that we keep the spate of suburban school shootings in the context of the larger issues of youth and school violence in general. Katherine Newman took the enormous responsibility of producing two cases rather than just one, and of organizing teams of students to accomplish this work. The quality of the cases her team produced showed that this strategy could be successful not only in developing first-rate cases, but also in developing the skills and interests of the students who worked on this project with her. It was also her extraordinary energy and the skills of her team that produced the earliest and most comprehensive “template” we used in deciding what facts had to be gathered across the sites, and how the cases would be analyzed as a combined “dataset.” At a critical stage toward the end of our process, Bill DeJong stepped up to the plate to help us develop a simpler version of the “template” that all were comfortable in using for the cross-case analysis. We think the cases developed for this project are the most important product of our effort, and we owe them entirely to the efforts of these colleagues. The case writing colleagues, although not members of the committee, were also extremely helpful in informing the committee deliberations: reminding us when facts they had gathered stood opposed to

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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence what we were thinking, suggesting new lines of thought about possible causes, and noting both significant variation and subtle consequences of certain kinds of interventions. Finally, the committee depended crucially on the extraordinary effort and skills of the professional team that worked at the heart of the process that produced our report. Carol Petrie has for many years now been the backbone of the NRC committees in the domain of law and justice. Her tact, her persistence, her organizational skills, her good humor, her great substantive knowledge, and her writing and editorial skills make her invaluable to the production of first-rate reports. Anthony Braga has shown himself over and over again to be an outstanding researcher in the criminal justice field. He is meticulous with concepts and data, encyclopedic in his knowledge of the literature on crime and violence, and both subtle and creative as he considers what the data and the literature are trying to tell him about how the world actually works. He is also indefatigable and infinitely resourceful when there is work to be done. Brenda McLaughlin went far beyond the usual expectations for an NRC staff member working on a project like this. She engaged in very resourceful and creative original research as she traced down information about the trends that formed the basis of our analysis in Chapter 9. She also made it possible for us to look easily across different studies to determine which incidents were common to which studies and which were different. The field will owe her an enormous debt well into the future as we continue to work with the dataset she created. Lecia Quarles and Michelle AuCoin McGuire served as project assistants to the committee. Lecia organized the meetings both in Washington and Cambridge and took care of other logistics such as travel and producing and mailing out drafts of the report. Michelle took over the production of the final manuscript and was of invaluable assistance in developing the committee’s response to reviewers. We are also grateful to Christine McShane, of the DBASSE editorial staff, who applied her superb editorial skills to the final draft. While the committee as a whole owes much to these individuals, I have to say as the chair that I owe much to the committee. The committee was a diverse group, assembled quickly, assigned to a task that would have been tough for an individual researcher, let alone a collective group that had not previously worked together. They did a terrific job of addressing themselves seriously to the problem at hand, and deploying their great individual knowledge and analytic powers to develop insights, ideas, and hypotheses. They also did a terrific job of listening to one another and developing frameworks that all found useful. It was a pleasure to work with such an outstanding committee on such a challenging and novel task. We hope that we have made a useful contribution to society’s future capacity to understand and respond to violence in gen

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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence eral, but also that particular kind of violence that we came to call “school rampages,” a very rare but very scary form of youth and school violence. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council (NRC). The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Mark Anderson, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Jane Costello, Developmental Epidemiology Program, Duke University School of Medicine; John Modell, Department of Sociology, Brown University; John Monahan, School of Law, University of Virginia; Vivian Reznik, Department of Pediatrics, University of California San Diego School of Medicine; Lawrence Steinberg, Department of Psychology, Temple University; Kate Stetzner, Butte Public Schools, Montana; and Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Kenneth A. Shepsle, Department of Government, Harvard University, and Elaine L. Larson, School of Nursing, Columbia University. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring panel and the institution. Mark H. Moore, Chair Case Studies of School Violence Committee

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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence DEADLY LESSONS UNDERSTANDING LETHAL SCHOOL VIOLENCE

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