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Will this become the new sickening normal at school?

Candles are placed on the steps of Hovde Hall in a memorial to slain engineering student Andrew Boldt on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Boldt was shot and killed Tuesday at the Electrical Engineering building. Cody Cousins, a student, has been charged in the shooting. (John Terhune/ AP photo/Journal & Courier)

Here’s some news from just the past 11 days:

Friday, Jan 24:

DENVER (AP) – Five of the state’s largest school districts have investigated more than 400 threats by students this school year and put 40 of them at the highest levels of concern, according to records obtained by The Denver Post.

Friday, Jan. 24:

 CAMBRIA TOWNSHIP, CAMBRIA COUNTY— A student with a loaded handgun was taken into custody late Friday afternoon at the Admiral Peary Vo-Tech School. Cambria Township Police were called to the school with a report of a student with a gun.  (WTAJ)

Thursday, Jan. 23:

Last year was supposed to be a year of action to curb gun violence in our schools. But three weeks into the new year, statistics suggest that the problem could actually be worsening. Though the sample size is far too small to draw any definitive conclusions, 2014 is off to a deadly start: in the first 14 school days of the year, there have been at least 7 school shootings. For sake of comparison, there were 28 school shootings in all of 2013, according to gun violence prevention group Moms Demand Action. (By Adam Peck at ThinkProgress)

Thursday, Jan. 23:

LITTLETON, Colo. — Columbine High School, where a school shooting left 13 people dead in 1999, went on high security alert after receiving a series of threatening phone calls, law enforcement said Thursday. (Associated Press)

Thursday, Jan. 23:

James Gaines has been detained at Collegedale Police Department [in Tennessee] whose “credible threat” against Southern Adventist University prompted a two-hour lockdown there. (Times Free Press)

Tuesday, Jan. 21:

Purdue University Police Chief John Cox says that one person is dead and another is in custody after a shooting on the Indiana campus Tuesday. (Associated Press / AP)

Monday, Jan. 20:

CHESTER, Pa., (CBS) — Authorities are investigating a shooting on the campus of Widener University that left a student in critical condition.

Friday, Jan 17:

PHILADELPHIA – Two students were shot at Delaware Valley Charter School in the Logan section of Philadelphia Friday afternoon by another student who authorities are actively pursuing, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Police Department says. (CBS News)

Tuesday, Jan. 14:

ROSWELL, N.M. — A 12-year-old New Mexico boy drew a shotgun from a band-instrument case and shot and wounded two classmates at his middle school Tuesday morning before a teacher talked him into dropping the weapon and he was taken into custody, officials and witnesses said. (Associated Press)


There are, of course, many thousands of schools in the country and nothing like the above happens at most of them. But the news of shootings and threats that force schools to lock down is sobering, and it is bound to leave students around the country wondering whether it could happen on their campuses. 


Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.



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Valerie Strauss · January 24, 2014

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