It was April 20, 1999, when Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris entered Columbine High School in Colorado and changed the course of history. The two high school seniors entered the school in trench coats with explosives devices, and when they failed to detonate, the pair set in motion a more drastic plan.
It was 49 minutes of horror as they started shooting – leaving 12 students and one teacher dead before taking their own lives. Twenty-three others were critically wounded.
Immediately following the incident, the entire country began to speculate what would have caused two young men to commit such an atrocious crime. Was it parental abuse? Was it linked to satanic worship? Was it mental illness? Were they a case of bullying?
In recent years a significant amount of research has been done on bullying.
- More than 3.2 million students report being bullied each year in the U.S.
- Roughly 160,000 students don’t attend school each day due to bullying
- One in 4 teachers don’t see bullying as a problem
- 90% of 4th through 8th graders report they have been bullied
- 1 in 20 students drop out of school due to being bullied
- Physical bullying is most prevalent in middle school
For many, the bullying becomes so intense they talk of suicide or others revert to violence to fight back. These shooters don’t bully themselves, in their mind, they are simply fighting back to seek revenge from being victimized; making things right in their world.
According to Dr. Peter Langman, a sought-after expert on the psychology of school shooters, in his review of 48 school shooting cases the following was uncovered:
- Of the 48 school shootings, only one shooter actually tracked down a bully
- Most school shooters target female students and staff
- Fewer than one bullied student out of one million become a school shooter
- The majority (60 percent) of school shooters were not bullied
While there is no direct correlation between bullying and mass school shootings, no one should be subjected to bullying. If your student sees another student being bullying please encourage them to report the behavior to a school authority. Bullies need to realize their behavior is not acceptable in society, in our community and in our schools.
If you See It, Say It. Together we can make a difference. Join me next week as I write on the true and clear link of school shootings and mental illness.
Source: Dr. Peter Langman