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Classroom Avenger: A Behavioral Profile of School Based Shootings

NCJ Number
Forensic Examiner Volume: 8 Issue: 5 & 6 Dated: May/June 1999 Pages: 16-18
J. P. McGee; C. R. DeBernardo
Date Published
3 pages
This is a preliminary analysis and discussion of a series of shooting incidents that occurred in American middle and high schools during the years 1993 through 1998.
In most of the incidents, the precipitant was discipline by parents or authorities or rejection by peers or girlfriends; the motive was vengeance, and the action was a premeditated shooting spree with parents, fellow students or faculty/school administrators as target victims. The typical "Classroom Avenger" is a physically healthy 15-year old Caucasian male high school or middle school student from a blue-collar to middle-class, frequently dysfunctional, family; parents are at risk for becoming the first victims. The shooter is friendless, immature, and a socially inadequate loner who prefers the company of younger children and inappropriately continues to play soldier and "G.I. Joe" games. He has an average to above average IQ. While not psychotically paranoid, he anticipates rejection, is suspicious and distrustful of the motives of others, whom he blames for his personal failures and setbacks, and is disinclined to accept responsibility for his own behavior and shortcomings. Table, references