What Did Ian Tell God? School Violence in East New York
This study used situation analysis to examine the interpersonal conflict and embedding context of fatal school shootings at Thomas Jefferson High School in New York City in 1991-1992.
AUTHORS: Mindy Thompson Fullilove; Gina Arias; Moises Nunez; Ericka Phillips; Peter McFarlane; Rodrick Wallace; Robert E. Fullilove III
PUBLISHED: Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence, edited by Mark H. Moore, Carol V. Petrie, Anthony A. Braga, and Brenda L. McLaughlin; National Research Council. 2003.
Thomas Jefferson High School, in East New York, was the scene of two episodes of school violence during the 1991–1992 school year. On November 25, 1991, Jason Bentley shot a teacher, Robert Anderson, and shot and killed a fellow student, Daryl Sharpe. On February 26, 1992, Khalil Sumpter shot and killed Tyrone Sinkler and Ian Moore. Al-though the first shooting had been a shock to the school, the neighbor-hood, and the city, the second shooting was something more than that. Following on the heels of the first episode and occurring on a day when the mayor was scheduled to speak at the school, the incident took on enormous weight. In brief, the intrusion of violence into the school was read as the breaching of one of the last sanctuaries in a city wracked by violence. Whoever was to blame—and many candidates were proposed—it was surely a terrible and intolerable state of affairs that had come to pass.
That the shootings had a logic of their own, albeit one related to the surrounding violence, was lost in the apocalyptic rhetoric that gripped the press and drove the discourse about the events. Lost in the hubbub was the remarkable work of a few calm people who understood the big picture and kept trying to make it better. Equally lost was the pain of the youth—not just the shooters or their victims, but a whole generation of young people—who were coming to maturity at that peculiar moment in the history of East New York...