The Public Interest

The politics of school violence

Jackson Toby

Summer 1994

ON JANUARY 23, 1986, eighteen-year old Eric Hawk, a student at the senior high school in suburban Surrattsville, Maryland, was waiting in the school parking lot to board his bus at the end of the day. Another eighteen-year old student, who had quarreled with Eric before, challenged him to a fight, and, while Eric was removing his coat, stabbed him in the head with a screwdriver that he had stolen earlier in the day from the art room. Eric went into convulsions and died almost immediately. Both Eric and his murderer were black males.

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