School Shooting At Westminster Christian Academy

| 19 Comments

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KSDK St. Louis reported:

A senior student was shot at Westminster Christian Academy in Creve Coeur after police say he waved a rifle in their direction.

Police say a student text messaged a friend around 3 p.m. and said he planned to shoot himself. That friend alerted school administrators.

I spoke with several Westminster students last night and one student wondered why this sort of thing could happen at a Christian school and also feared all the gossip about the student and his family that is certainly to follow.

She said that this sort of thing one would expect at a public school but not a Christian school, "it's supposed to be safe."

I thought to myself, "why would anyone expect something like this NOT to happen at a Christian school." In addition to sadness of the incident, I was even more saddened by the idea some students expect that the somehow they're being protected from the unsafe world by being at a Christian school. The effects of the fall and the activity of the Enemy visit Christian schools and public schools alike.

[More of the story below]
Tough day.

The student involved in the shooting did not attend classes on Wednesday, and school officials tried to locate him after they received word of the text message. The student entered the school parking lot in his mother's car around 3:45 p.m.

Police were called to the school in the 10900 block of Ladue Road. When they arrived, they immediately secured the perimeter. School officials made sure no other students were in danger.

"No student was in any threatening position or place, so I think we took care of the situation that unfortunately occurred," said headmaster Jim Marsh.

Police say the student pointed the gun at his head and then waved it in their direction. At that point, police shot the student at least once after telling him several times to put down the gun.

The student was transported to area hospital. His injuries are believed to non-life threatening.

School administrators said they had no prior warning about Wednesday's incident.

About 825 students attend Westminster Christian Academy.

19 Comments

Of course they think kids are safe in a Christian school. That's the main reason why their kids go there. It would be shocking for them to realize that bad things can happen there, too. I don't think that's the biggest problem, though. I do think that parents can reasonably expect to not have to deal with guns and shootings at a Christian school. The problem here is that a young man's emotional and mental health was ignored. The idea that true Christians shouldn't struggle with depression or thoughts of suicide is destructively pervasive. Had this young man succeeded, I'm sure his salvation would have been questioned solely on the basis of the suicide. Here is where the blinders of most Christians and the Christians school structure in general show up. A teacher should have noticed something, but Christian school teachers and administators are rarely trained in identifying the signs of depression in students since "good" Christians don't have those problems. Okay, I sound a little cynical, but I've encountered that attitude so often. If the school and the parents and even the students had balanced expectations and a correct attitute about mental/emotional health, they would have been more alert to this young man, and the situation could have been stopped long before the confrontation in the parking lot.

The ensuing interviews with the school's headmaster and the police chief were pleasantly surprising. They both talked about the troubles of this young man that led him to act this way. They both offered "prayerful" support for him and his family. They both said that the best thing to happen is to restore him back to the community.

Imagine another scenario, where a teen at an urban STL high school shows up, waves a gun, and gets shot by police. Here are my suspicions. A) The teen would be shot multiple times and NOT in the leg. B) The news report would be brief, maybe even without any camera coverage of the event. C) No one would be talking about restoring the teen to the community.

I disagree with B. In the three plus years we have lived in St. Louis, I cannot think of a "police shooting" incident in an urban area where it wasn't talked about and protested. I'm sure it happens, but when the police shoot people, like the rash of high-speed chases over the past two years, it's on the news and people are very criticle of the police.
This is one city I would not want to be a cop.

Bobby,

In the last 15 years, I have always noticed an uproar at some of the shootings of teens by policein STL, but that wasn't really my point. I have not heard people on the news, including the STL police chiefs of the past, talk about their social concern for the teen. The reporting usually focuses on the police response, as you have pointed out. In urban incedences there is no understanding for the family systems of the teen, the context that led up to the violence, or a concerned and "prayerful" plan to restore the teen back to the community.

So I would agree that there is reporting when people make a stink out of it, but it is not the same focus as what we saw with the WCA event.

I'm glad to hear that there is a desire and a plan to restore the young man. That doesn't always happen.

Just for what it is worth, as an honest homeschooler, I would hate to leave out that segment of the population. While shootings might be most rare in that educational environment (though certainly not obsolete), evidence of the fall is very much present here at my house too.

I only say that so someone doesn't come along and claim that homeschooling is the cure all. It isn't. I think we all know the only cure is redemption.

And yes, it is ironic that our response is so different to a shooting in a Christian educational setting. Go figure. Who would have thought even we have sin in our midst??

This goes to show you that this sort of thing happens with all walks of life. I went to this high school and of course am in shock. No one ever thinks that this can happen in their neck of the woods. Oh but it does.

I elaborated a bit on this matter and other related incidents on my journal.

http://timinstl.livejournal.com

In this case, the student seems to have wanted to harm himself, and so it is a little different than if he'd had malicious intent against other students.

But even there - notice that they want to restore him to the community. But what if he'd gotten his girlfriend pregnant? What if he'd been caught with drugs? Would they still have wanted to restore him? This is the big problem with private Christian education - we get to choose our students. If they're handicapped, if they are mentally disabled, we can just claim that we can't handle them. Same goes for other problems of a more moral kind. If Christians seriousy want to contend that we can handle the educational process, then we should try to educate the kids we have rather than approach the situation like social engineers, choosing the cream and leaving the proles behind.

Barlow, good word! Good word!

I understand that situations like this inevitably lead us to reflect on the general situation of Christian eduction. However, since I know one of this student's teachers personally and know more of the details of the situation, having talked with the teacher the day of the shooting, I would suggest that we refrain from speculating about what the school could or could not, should or should not have done for this young man.

Dramaturge, you simply do not know what was going on with this student. And you do not know what the school was or was not doing. So, you are not in a position to judge this particular case.

No, you're right, I don't know the particulars of this case; and, I was basing my opinion of this case on the attitudes I have seen in the Christian school community, Christian homeschool community, and the Christian community at large. There is a prevailing use of blinders when it comes to the emotional/mental health of teenagers from Christian homes--and idea that good Christian kids don't have those kinds of struggles. Perhaps there was an awareness of this young man's problems before this. I haven't read anything that indicated that. The prompt response to the text message was excellent, but in reading the news story I do have to wonder how many signs were missed. I'm not in a position to "judge" this particular case, but I certainly am in a position to render an opinion based on my knowledge and experience. Feel free to enlighten me, if you so wish.

Barlow said: "But what if he'd gotten his girlfriend pregnant? What if he'd been caught with drugs? Would they still have wanted to restore him?"

I say: If his parents had enough money and power in the school, maybe. (I went to a Christian school, too--bad experiences.)

As a teacher at Westminster and one who knows this student fairly well, I find the comments here very touching - both in a good way and in a painful one. I am also a parent of a student there. As a faculty member and as a parent, I can at least say that I believe that the school handled a very tough situation in a very professional way.
To those of you who believe that the student's parents, teachers, or pastors should have seen something or done something to prevent this, I can only say that perhaps we should have. But please keep in mind, that sometimes people - all of us - can be quite successful at hiding our hurts and pain from others. But this student's parents, the school officials, and the police worked together as soon as his intentions were brought to light. In the end, this student is alive and no one else was injured. There is much to be thankful for.

Christian private schools provide education in Christian traditional environment. These schools are committed to provide academic growth as well as spiritual development in students. Institutes are very beneficial and helpful for teenagers for getting quality education.

http://www.teensprivateschools.com/schooltypes/Christian-Help/index.html

You speak of "restoring him to the community"--as if this is a good thing. What if the community is the problem?
I went to this school. I know from first hand experience, this student will be mandated to go to Christian counseling. He will learn to demonize his personal feelings and his relationship with non-christains, "worldly" influences and maybe even his parents. He will be expected to have a conversion experience and then share that "testimony" in Chapel, of how God saved him from death by using the teachers and administration to do His Will.
I'm sorry, but it is not the nice picture that some people have of "restoring someone to the community".
We aren't talking about reintergration of prisoners into a wider society, nor about alternative justice systems. This is a school which creates problems, encourages mental breakdowns and then uses them to control their society.
Ask yourself, why, when this young man could have gone to the park or gone to the mall or some other public place, he chose to try and end his life at the school?
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he went there for final consolation, because it was the only place that made him feel loved. And yeah, the school is good at love-bombing you, making you feel wanted. (It's all a part of the control process.) I went there, and I watched so many childhood friends break under their "educational" system and who are now living with the consequences.


What does God say about education?
The most Biblical form of education is Homeschooling. God does not address government employees to be educators of our children. He clearly places this responsability on parents as the educators of their own children:

"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."
- Deuteronomy 6:6-7

"All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children."
- Isaiah 54:13

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."
- Proverbs 22:6

Jesus said: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher."
- Luke 6:39, 40

"Learn not the way of the heathen."
- Jeremiah 10:2

"He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm."
- Proverbs 13:20

Choose Education Anywhere www.educationanywhere.com for you homeschool needs. We can help you start a satalite school, summer school programs, or credit recovery for failed classes.

"The most Biblical form of education is Homeschooling. God does not address government employees to be educators of our children."

Not a single one of those Bible references implies that it is wrong for a parent to enroll a child in a private Christian or public school. Homeschooling is no more "biblical" than a child attending school outside of his or her home.

Homeschooling must be wonderful for parents who are talented teachers, and who feel confident in their ability to educate their own children; this is less so for parents who are simply without the talent or inclination to teach.

A few questions are not being asked here:

1) Why did this young man feel compelled to bring his gun to school in order to commit suicide? Was he trully intent on killing only himself, or was he interested in commiting murder-suicide? If so, why?

2) Kids from all backgrounds experience pain, alienation, even rage. But, how is it that kids in this condition seem to have such easy access to guns? Where did he get the gun? Did an adult buy it for him at a gun show? Did his parents or relatives not store the gun properly, leaving it out for him to pick up and take with him to the school?

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This page contains a single entry by Anthony Bradley published on September 14, 2006 11:02 PM.

White Trash--Why Is It Cool to Rip on "Them" was the previous entry in this blog.

See Ya Monday! I'm Speaking At An Acton Thing In Chi-town is the next entry in this blog.

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