The town of Chardon is located about 30 miles east of Cleveland, Ohio. The high school has about 1,100 students. At 7:30 a.m, on Monday, February 27, 2012, a 17-year-old at-risk student by the name of Thomas “TJ” Lane entered the school cafeteria and began shooting. Two students, Daniel Parmentor, 16, and Russell King Jr. 17, were immediately killed. Three others, two boys and a girl, were wounded, but one boy later died in the hospital.
The shooter was described as a victim of bullying and an outcast. The victims were in the school's cafeteria waiting for a bus for the Auburn Career Center when the shots were fired. According to a survivor, Lane attended Lake Academy for at-risk students.
The sheriff said Lane turned himself in to bystanders off-site from the school in Chardon Township. All classes in the Chardon school district were cancelled for the day. A spokeswoman said the district's schools would be closed on Tuesday as well. Grief counselors were on hand for students at Chardon Middle School from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.
These shootings in public schools have caused many citizens to ask why this is happening. Obviously, something in the schools is creating so much rage and frustration among students that some of them are driven to strike out against their fellow students and teachers in a cold-blooded, murderous way.
Back in 1992, an unemployed high school dropout who, seeking revenge for flunking a history course three years earlier, went back to his high school in Olivehurst, California, wearing camouflage gear and an ammunition belt, killed his history teacher, three students, and wounded 11. He then held 80 students hostage. After hours of telephone negotiations, the gunman released his captives and surrendered. He walked silently, shirtless and handcuffed, to a waiting patrol car.
“He just kept saying that ‘the school failed me,’” said student Jason Beissel, 16, a hostage. “He kept repeating it. ‘The school failed me. They left me with a crappy job.’ He had nothing to live for.”
In that tragic case we were given something of an insight into the thinking and motivation of the drop-out gunman. The school had become the focus of his frustration, hatred, and rage. The newspaper report provided no information about this individual’s school career. Was he a victim of California’s whole-language miseducation and could barely read? Was he labeled ADD and put on Ritalin? Was he so badly miseducated in primary school that the rest of his education had become a frustrating nightmare?
In Retarding America: The Imprisonment of Potential (Halcyon House, 1993), author Michael S. Brunner writes that “reading failure is most likely a cause, not just a correlate, for the frustration that can and does result in delinquent behavior.” Obviously, neither teachers nor parents are willing to admit that the frustration caused by educational malpractice can result in a violent reaction against the perceived cause of that frustration. And that violent reaction can take place years later when the school-induced disability still affects the everyday life of the individual. The ex-student in this murderous episode said, in essence, that his life had been made worthless by the school and that he had nothing to live for.
Some school shootings are the work of younger students reacting violently to immediate causes. For example, on Feb. 19, 1997, Evan Ramsey, 16, killed the principal and a student at the Bethel Regional High School in Bethel, Alaska (pop. 4,700). He had a “hit list” that included the two victims and other students. The weapon used was a 12-gauge shotgun. Was Ramsey an ADD student on medication? We don’t know.
On Oct. 1, 1997, Luke Woodham, 16, killed his mother, his ex-girlfriend, and wounded seven at Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi (pop. 3,400). The teen killer told police, “The world has wronged me and I couldn’t take it anymore.” At his trial he said that he was driven by demons who told him he would be “nothing” if he didn’t kill. According to a story in the Boston Globe (6/5/98),
A sobbing Luke Woodham said he remembered getting a butcher knife and seeing his mother’s bloody body — all the while, his head ringing with instructions from his satanic mentor, 19-year-old Grant Boyette.
Apparently, Boyette was the leader of a satanic group plotting to kill students as Pearl High School.
Woodham said he befriended Boyette in January 1997 after Boyette cast a spell from a satanic book. Woodham said he believed the spell led to a teenager being run over by a car and killed. “We started a satanic group and through the hate in my heart, I used it to try and get vengeance on people and do what he told me to do,” Woodham said.
Every now and then we read of satanic groups being formed among students. That’s the new form of “socialization” among public schoolers who pierce their bodies, get tattooed, become sexually active, and try drugs. The absence of God in the public school, the promotion of a secular humanist curriculum with its multiculturalism, sensitivity training, death education, sex education, drug education, transcendental meditation, and moral relativism seem to be having devastating effects on children in rural communities where, for many young people, old-fashioned, Bible-based belief and discipline are to be discarded and hated.
In his book The Age of Consent, Robert Knight writes: “Relativism is the cultivation of ignorance, the gateway to nihilism, a false view of reality constructed by know-nothings for know-nothings, an extremely efficient vehicle for evil, whose existence it denies.”
On Dec. 1, 1997, Michael Carneal, 14, opened fire on a prayer group that met before school and on several other students in the hallway of Heath High School in Paducah, Kentucky (pop. 27,300). Three girls were killed, five wounded, including one girl left paralyzed. Carneal had a history of heckling the prayer group. He warned several classmates that “something big is about to happen” and told one student not to go to the prayer group. The weapon used in the shooting was a .22-caliber semiautomatic Ruger handgun.
Was Michael Carneal also a satanist? His hatred of the students in the prayer group indicates that he was very deeply spiritually disturbed. These praying students represented biblical values and moral absolutes. Apparently, Carneal could not even tolerate the sight of such a group. In addition, Kentucky had been undergoing the most radical and open experiment in education reform known as Outcome Based Education (OBE). The outcomes were based on the late Prof. Benjamin Bloom’s famous Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, which called for changing the student’s interests, attitudes, values, feelings, thinking, and actions. The main goal of the OBE curriculum was to “effect a complete or thorough-going reorganization of attitudes and values.”
Prof. Bloom, a behavioral scientist, believed in evolution and the notion that children can be trained like animals since, according to behaviorists, they are animals. As for Michael Carneal, we do not know if he came from a Christian home or not. We do not know if he had ever read the Bible or was influenced by satanic teachings. But what is obvious is that he had a murderous hatred of these students who were outwardly Christian. And the result is that three teenage Christian girls were murdered for what they believed in.
It is obvious from these few stories of school killings, which are just the tip of the iceberg, that many young Americans are so deeply disturbed emotionally and spiritually that we cannot dismiss the present permissive, non-judgmental humanist content of education as irrelevant. Indeed, the emphasis in current pedagogical practice is on the affective domain, that part of the curriculum that deals with values, feelings, beliefs, attitudes, sexuality, etc.
Today’s educators are change agents who, in Prof. Benjamin Bloom’s words, must endeavor “to effect a complete or thorough-going reorganization of attitudes and values” held by their students. As anyone knows, that kind of “thorough-going reorganization” cannot take place without intensive psychotherapy which is now being practiced in our education system by teachers without a license to do so. No one has bothered to investigate what happens when children are subjected to such psychological efforts without their parents’ permission or knowledge. And that is another good reason to homeschool, which is beyond the reach of these psychological change agents.