It's For The Children, Vol. XXXVII
Sixteen-year-old John Odgren was on two forms of medication for mental issues. He was in a special school program in which he was overseen by counselors, a clinical psychologist and a "classroom coordinator" (your guess is as good as mine). His parents, who enrolled him in this program and had him treated for a mild case of Asperger's Syndrome, obviously cared about his health and his education.
Friday, John Odgren stabbed a fellow student to death in a bathroom at Lincoln-Sudbury High School. Which means...
IT'S TIME TO PANIC!! METAL DETECTORS! BODY CAVITY SEARCHES! HOME SCHOOLING! THE GOVERNMENT'S GOTTA DO SOMETHING!
Poor James Aleson is dead, the victim of a painfully senseless, inexplicable crime. I can't even imagine how his parents can get out of bed on a day like today.
I feel just as badly for the parents of John Odgren. They have all the sorrow of the victim's parents, plus the additional burdens of guilt and shame--not to mention a lifetime ahead of trying to find a way to be the loving parents to a self-destructive, criminal son. There is horror in this story all the way around.
But please--let's stop the overreacting. Lincoln-Sudbury High is not a hotbed of violence. The students don't need to be wanded every day at the walk onto campus.
Here is the Natural Truth: Children are safer from crime when they're at school than they are anywhere else, including at home. Crime against kids is falling--not rising. Our kids are the safest generation of children ever to walk this planet.
The lesson of John Odgren is that we live on a planet where there are often no lessons, where stuff just happens. Sometimes it's bad stuff: Tsunamis, bird flu and, yes, sick people. Turning out public schools into prison because of a one in a 2 million tragedy like this would simply be yet another tragedy--this time, an avoidable one.