The signs are there – after the fact

In the aftermath of violent sprees students seem to launch with some regularity in schools, the question asked often is why no one saw it coming.

Profiling children as potential killers is such a difficult task it does not even fall into the category of “inexact science.” Deciding youngsters who don’t fit in or who sometimes behave strangely are dangerous is foolish and irresponsible on many levels.

But officials in the school district that includes Italy High School, near Dallas, Texas, apparently had every reason to worry about the 16-year-old boy who shot a girl there on Monday. She was rushed to a hospital, where her condition at this writing was not known.

“This could have been avoidable. There were so many signs,” a junior at the school told a reporter.

She explained the boy’s behavior telegraphed trouble, beginning in the eighth grade, when he drew up a “hit list.” Then, just last year, he threw a pair of scissors at another student, then threw a computer against the wall. He was removed from school — but allowed to return.

If the girl is correct – and both school and law enforcement authorities should check on the details — someone misjudged the boy badly.

Should every problem child be kicked out of school? Of course not. But the Texas case is a reminder that violent behavior needs to be taken very, very seriously, because of the potential it may escalate into life-threatening situations.


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