Finnish School Tragedy, Questioning School Safety in America.

Yet another college student goes on a rampage, killing 10 people then himself. This time, the shooting is in Kauhajoki, Finland. Sadly, local police had already picked up the student, Matti Juhani Saari, for suspicious activity when he posted a rather violent video on YouTube of his target practice. I won’t post Saari’s video, but here’s a video of the BBC reporting the tragedy:

One of our biggest worries about Fae in public schools is the safety. We keep hearing about school shootings, first-graders with knives, third-grade gang-bangers, etc. Granted, statistically, there’s a greater change of being hurt within five miles of home in a car accident, but still, the seemingly nightly news reports of our “schools in crisis” cast a pall on the prospect of our little five-year-old being safe.

Kiki and I still greatly worry about Fae being exposed to all kinds of elements at such an early age. However, I’m not too concerned with school shootings.

The U.S. has the rep of the school-shooting capital of the world. We have the most firearms in civilian hands than any other country in the world. Both in real numbers, and in per capita. Do we really have the most dangerous schools in Western society?

BBC has an interesting timeline up on their website on the major school shootings world-wide over the last decade. Out of 10 listings, the United States shows up 4 times. The last two major school shootings happened in Finland. Then there were also major tragedies in Canada, Argentina, and Germany. Of course, this doesn’t take into account the smaller incidences, random shootings, etc.

So how violent are American schools? To be frank, I have no idea. I keep coming across conflicting information.

For example, from Virginia Tech — a school that knows tragedy — comes this research showing that school violence, and student homicides have been steadily going down since 1994. And yet, schools in urban Philadelphia sees a sharp increase in “persistently dangerous” schools (a reporting designation for No Child Left Behind).

Then, of course, there are those critics of the NCLB reports of persistently dangerous schools as arbitrary, lacking definition, and requires schools to self-report.

Pretty much, I’m not too concerned with school shootings. There would be nothing — absolutely nothing — that neither Kiki nor I could prepare for that situation. I think what would be more sane is for us to focus on those things we can influence, or those things that Fae could be influenced by. Sex, drugs, theft, truancy, etc. There are still plenty on the list to be worried about with public schools, to justify keeping Fae homeschooled.


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About PDX Dad

Simple father from Portland, Oregon. International logistics by trade, economics by education, writer by passion.

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  1. Finnish School Tragedy, Questioning School Safety in America. Video - September 24, 2008, 12:44 am

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