Wednesday, in a small town just south of Spokane, Washington, sophomore Caleb Sharpe went to school with two weapons in his duffle bag. Somewhere around 10am he open-fired on the student body.
Witness accounts will send chills down your spine. One young lady reports standing in front of the shooter. She dropped to the floor. The girl next to her was immediately shot and started screaming “help me, help me.”
While other students ran for cover, Sam Strahan ran straight for the shooter and tried to intervene. He was fatally shot in the head. Later, parents reported that the shooter and his victim were known as best friends.
Luckily, the school janitor tackled the shooter. He is being hailed as the hero of the day.
A Washington State Trooper called it the worst moment of his career, as he responded to an open fire call at his child’s school. In fact, several of the first responders had students in attendance at Freeman High School.
These events shouldn’t be happening, but apparently Caleb Sharpe was obsessed with documentaries on school shootings. Was he the victim of bullies or just an obsessed individual looking to leave a dark mark on society?
Kids Killing Kids
Many of us believe the Columbine Massacre of 1999 was the first massive school shooting in which children took the lives of their piers. However, upon digging deeper, I learned there are cases of kids shooting kids dating all the way back to 1860, maybe even further. Additionally, the statistics on school violence will blow your mind. Almost 20% of students report they have taken a weapon to school at some point. Five percent of those students say the weapon of choice was a gun. These are kids who were never caught!
Nearly 10% of students report being hit or slapped and 8% of students report being raped at school. Sixteen percent of students have faced cyber-bullying and 20% of students have faced physical bullying. Only 6% of students report staying home to avoid their bullies. What does that tell us?
Violence at school is par for the course!
Call for Action
There is only one way to cut the violence in our schools. Education needs to be our primary investment. The average ratio of students per counselor is 471. However, there should be a counselor for every 250 students. Class sizes should be smaller. We need more teachers and less budget constraints. It’s the only way to truly reach the students about to venture down the wrong road.
Metal detectors can only do so much. We need people to detect the lost expressions that end up holding guns in their hands.