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Posted: 5/19/2001 6:37:35 AM EDT
The Chicago Sun-Times May 19, 2001 Students' reaction to gun on target BY ANDREW HERRMANN SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST Achunky .38 caliber revolver, six bullets, a bottle of Crown Royal: The photo the Sun-Times ran on Page 1 Wednesday of objects taken from a 14-year-old Steinmetz High School student was certainly sobering, wasn't it? But there is a CHEERS in this story, and it belongs to a Steinmetz student who saw the gun earlier in the day and reported it to the school discipline office. That isn't as common as you might think. A Secret Service study of 41 school shooters found that in more than three-quarters of the cases, the attacker told someone about his intentions. Problem is, a lot of kids observe a code of silence, in which informing adults about out-of-bounds behavior is equated to treason. Sadly, another 14-year-old, Nathaniel Brazill of West Palm Beach, Fla., convicted this week of killing a teacher, didn't have the same kind of quick-thinking classmates. Brazill's best friend testified that Brazill had shown him and another student a gun three days before the school shooting. They didn't tell anybody about it. Just hours before Brazill opened fire, he told a third student he was going home to get a gun to shoot the teacher. "I laughed," the third classmate testified, "because I didn't think it was true." Steinmetz principal Constantine Kiamos declined to identify the student but said he's proud of her actions. "A lot of students--not all, but a lot--are comfortable with the teachers and the police who work here," said Kiamos. "The students are concerned with safety and they're taking the steps now to help maintain it." With their inside knowledge, Kiamos said with a laugh, "they're the best security a school can have." Andrew Herrmann (andrew1@suntimes .com) can be heard Friday afternoons on the John Williams Show on WGN-AM (720). http://www.suntimes.com/output/herrmann/herm19.html
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