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School Violence - The Spring Of 1998

kinkel killed parents fire

The spring of 1998 turned out to be a very bloody time in U.S. school history. On March 24, eleven-year-old Andrew Golden and thirteen-year-old Mitchell Johnson set off a fire alarm at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas. They then fired on school staff and students as they evacuated the building. The two boys killed one adult and four children and wounded ten others on the school's playground.

One month later on April 24, fourteen-year-old Andrew Wurst carried a handgun to an eighth grade school graduation dance in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. He killed a teacher and wounded three others before being captured while fleeing.

On May 21, barely a month later, fifteen-year-old Kipland Kinkel opened fire on a crowded school cafeteria in the morning before classes began at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon. He killed two and wounded seven others. When police went to his home, they found his murdered parents, whom he had killed the previous day. The house was booby-trapped with several bombs including one placed under his mother's body.

On May 21, 1998, Kipland Kinkel killed his parents and then went to school and opened fire on a crowded cafeteria at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, killing two and wounding seven. (AP/Wide World Photos)

The day he murdered his parents Kinkel had been expelled for bringing a firearm to school, but he had been released by police to his father's custody. Kinkel was small in stature and had dyslexia (a learning disability). He felt inferior to his academic parents and athletic older sister. Kinkel was routinely teased at school and felt detached from his schoolmates.

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