Lessons From Red Lake and Columbine

  • The truth is that while shootings at Red Lake and Columbine got a tremendous amount of media attention, they are extremely rare. Yet, students, parents and teachers can all take away some important lessons from these incidents.

    • Violent rampages are rarely impulsive actions, in almost all cases someone else knew the plot and had seen warning signs.
    • Most students who went on rampages were social outcasts, and were often bullied, and teased mercilessly by other students. The violence was payback for the bullying.
    • Attackers had exhibited signs and symptoms of fantasizing about committing violent acts against fellow students and teachers.
    • Attackers will often “leak” information about their intentions to other students.It is the responsibility of every student to report such intentions to a responsible adult.
    • Most school tragedies are avoided by students sharing information with adults. Step forward and help everyone in the situation by doing the right thing.
    • Warning signs common in most incidents are violent art and writings, feelings of depression and isolation, mentioning to friends that they’d like to shoot someone, and mention of suicide.
    • Be alert for radical changes in behavior.
    • Be especially sensitive for warning signs after a student has experienced a personal loss, such as the death of a loved one.