The Public Interest

Getting serious about school discipline

Jackson Toby

Fall 1998

IN April 1998, a 15-year-old female student at Roosevelt High School in Yonkers, New York, was upset because her social-studies teacher, Dawn Jawrower, had telephoned her parents to express concern over her poor academic performance. The student packed a hammer into her bookbag, entered Jawrowers class a little after eight in the morning, and attacked Jawrower in front of the class, fracturing the teacher’s skull in two places before other students in the class managed to restrain her. Such an attack on a teacher, especially by a female student, is unusual. Yet other recent examples of student violence against teachers come to mind. Andrew Wurst, a 14-year-old student at the Parker Middle School in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, mentioned to another student that he was going to make the upcoming school dance “memorable.” There he shot to death science teacher John Gillette and wounded another teacher as well as two students. 

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