The same thing happened this week following the preliminary hearing Monday of Memorial Middle School shooter Thomas Gregory White. I read with interest the comments on the Joplin Globe internet article about the hearing. One reader, Jane, made the following comment:
Why did his teachers not notice anything was wrong with the kid?
Please do not put this off on the teachers. In the first place, teachers have 25 to 30 students in six classes or between 150 and 180 students per day. Don't expect them to be able to pick out one student who might eventually become violent when no one has yet determined what exactly leads to these incidents. (And we certainly try to keep our eye out for this type of student.)
In the wake of the Columbine shooting in 1999, the FBI released a 40-question survey, if memory serves me correctly, with a list of the traits that school shooters might (with an emphasis on that word) have. As I pored over that list, I discovered the items on it applied to nearly every student (and most of the teachers).
What is truly remarkable are the large number of students who are helped because teachers, counselors, and administrators reach out every day to students who have been bullied, students who until a teacher made an effort, thought that no one was in their corner.
Is there more that can be done to prevent bullying? Of course, and each year schools provide more training to teachers to help them deal with the problem. Bullying continues, but teachers are constantly working to lessen it.
We always hear about the students like Thomas Gregory White who slip between the cracks, but we never hear about all of the incidents that may have been prevented...because of teachers, counselors, and administrators who made the extra effort. Those are the stories that never get told.