School Killing too Close for Comfort (Updated)
The stabbing took place at around 7:20 am in a boys bathroom. There could be a witness to the murder, but that information hasn't yet been substantiated. What is known is that the victim was a 15.5 year old Freshman and the police have arrested a 16.5 year old Sophmore for the crime. He will be indicted this afternoon in Framingham district court on murder charges. He might be charged as an adult later on, but for now will be in juvenile court.
When I saw the "breaking news' and the story was revealed, my heart literally lept into my throat. Even though this isn't the school my kids attend, they know kids from this school through camp and social settings. It is the school my cousins kids attended. It is the school an old friend's daughters will attend. It is the school that I wanted to teach at before I quit that noble profession for a real paycheck in the software industry. This is just way too close to home for me to process.
I called the school psychologist at our school to find out how to handle this information. I wanted to know how the school itself was going to deal with it, informing our kids, or just letting them learn about it at home. And I wanted to know how we at home should talk about this crime, because it really is horribly frightening. And so unexpected.
There has been an unconfirmed rumor that the students involved were in a small classroom environment for emotionally troubled kids. I do not know if this is true or not, but I hope not. That's all those kids need is more kids harassing them for having mental illnesses. Like it isn't hard enough to go to a very competitive high school filled with ivy league bound students when you can barely remember how to dress yourself some mornings.
I pray for those kids left behind. School tragedies are all too common these days. But that's almost glib, and I don't mean to appear that way. Every school tragedy, whether a shooting or a stabbing or whatever is horrific. Every one inures us to more violence inside our schools. High school is a pressure cooker of emotions and stress. Add kids with parents who push them to excell and expectations to be the best, and you're got a firestorm of stress just waiting to blow.
We don't yet know the motive of the crime. We don't even know the identity of the murderer, although the victim has been identified. We know almost nothing other than that the school was in lockdown for hours before letting the students leave with their distraught parents. I cannot even imagine what their afternoons are going to be like. Counseling, as usual, is available to the students through the weekend. But is that enough?
I weep for my own children who are so vulnerable and precious. I will hug them tight tonight and tell them how much I love them. Please do the same with your own children.
Update: The victim was identified as James Alenson. He was pronounced dead at Emerson Hospital at 8:12 a.m. He was a special education student in the REACH program, and was evidentally mentally challanged. Most of the students interviewed didn't know who he was because he was in a small classroom environment and was always with teachers or aides.
John Odgren of Princeton is charged with murder, assault and battery with a dangerous
weapon and carrying a knife on school property. Odgren's lawyer, Jonathan Shapiro, said after the arraignment that "it is a tragedy for all involved. I know my client and his family feel for the victim and his family." Prosecutor Daniel Bennett said Odgren admitted to school officials he killed Alenson.
He also said his client has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, and is a special education student at the school and had no history of violence. He asked for his client to be allowed to go to a secure facility at Children's Hospital in Boston, to be paid for by his family.My kids school seemed to ignore the situation and didn't tell the Girl anything, so I had to tell her. She was not clear on why I was so upset. The invincibility of teenagers... The Boy is not yet home. I'm interested to hear his take on this, as he does know several of the kids in the self-contained LifeSkills program from his bus.
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