Violence in Our Schools

August 1, 1980 through July 31, 1981


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To report a threat of school violence before the instigator has a chance to act on his/her intentions, please contact Speak Up at 1-866-SPEAKUP (that is 1-866-773-2587)

I would like to thank all of the Survivors and others who have contacted me with information about school violence.  I do appreciate the help, for, without their help, several of these occurrences would not be here.

One other thing I would like to ask of those who read over this list of tragedies is this: If you can provide me with any more details of any of these incidents, I would greatly appreciate the information. Or, if you know of another violent act at a school that is not on this list, please forward that information to me as well.  The link to my e-mail is above.


Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C.

Saturday, August 16, 1980

New students usually begin arriving at colleges a few weeks before classes start to settle in and make new friends.  So it wasn't out of the ordinary that 19-year-old Jamie D. Wilding from Ontario, Canada, and Douglas Lee Woodworth, also 19, from Warwick, Rhode Island, were on campus this week before the beginning of their classes.  Between midnight and 12:30 this morning, Jamie left his dorm room at Krug Hall to visit Douglas at Benson Hall.  During the meeting, Douglas stabbed Jamie to death and then pushed his body out the window, his eighth-story window.  Shortly after Jamie's body was found, police arrested Douglas and charged him with first-degree premeditated murder.  However, that charge was reduced to second-degree murder on Monday when he was released to his parent's custody.  On Wednesday, October 29, 1980, Douglas pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Gallaudet is a college for the deaf and has been opened since 1864.

Source: Washington Post - 1st Murder at Gallaudet College Shock Campus; Washington Post - Man Enters a Plea of Guilty in Fatal Gallaudet Stabbing


Spingarn High School, Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, September 10, 1980

Today, school officials were in the school's cavernous auditorium to register students for classes.  Most of the students in the auditorium were new students, but a few were returning dropouts.  There were four guidance counselors, four teachers, and an administrator in the auditorium supervising the students.  Sitting in the front row on the right side of the room was 16-year-old Adrian "Ajax" Precia and his friends.  They were passing around a .25-caliber pistol.  It was 10:30 in the morning.  Tanya Brown, a 17-year-old classmate of Adrian who was sitting three rows behind him, observed the boys passing around the small and silver gun.  She heard Michael Joseph Pratt say he'd shoot Ajax, to which Ajax replied, "No, you won't."  Michael proved Ajax wrong when he pulled the trigger, and the gun went off.  Ajax tried to get up and run away, but his eyes rolled back in his head, and he fell to the floor.  His head hit the floor when he collapsed.  An unnamed 17-year-old boy, who owned the unregistered pistol, called his mother and told her what happened.  Together, they went to the police station where he turned himself in.  Police arrived at the school and arrested Michael.  Police ruled the shooting accidental as evidence collect found no argument between the boys and that they were all friends.  However, Tanya said it "wasn't no accident."  Ajax, who dropped out of junior high school two years, died from this shooting.  Police arrested Michael, 18, and charged him with homicide.  The unnamed 17-year-old boy was charged him with possession of a prohibited weapon. 

Source: Washington Post - Spingarn High Student Fatally Shot at School Assembly


McKinley High School, Washington, D.C.

Friday, September 19, 1980

Sean Odom, 16, and a unnamed 15-year-old classmate have been going to school together since junior high. Earlier this month, Sean was needing to write down a girl's phone number, but he didn't have a writing instrument.  He pulled the pencil his classmate had from behind his ear and asked if he could borrow it.  The simple request led to a physical fight.  The two boys were suspended from school for a time and returned to classes today.  While Sean was at his locker, his classmate from junior high approached him and stabbed him in the chest with a pair of scissors.  The boy then ran away.  Sean, not realizing he had been stabbed gave chase, but only for a short distance as his injuries overtook him and he collapsed to the ground.  Sean was transported to the Washington Hospital Center where he regained consciousness and was listed in serious condition.  Police arrested the stabber, a junior, on charges of assault with a deadly weapon.  About a year later, Sean and the classmate's cousin were talking.  The cousin told Sean he had been stabbed by the boy because he (the classmate) was scared what Sean would do to him for getting him (Sean) suspended. 

Source: Washington Post - Expelled Student is Stabbed During Argument at McKinley; Survivor of this act of school violence


University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Tuesday, January 27, 1981

James Howard Taylor, 19, a former freshman of the college, brought a 12-guage single-shot shotgun into the Delta Delta Delta sorority house on campus this evening.  He entered the house at 5:45 p.m. and held two UAPD officers at gunpoint in the foyer.  He then aimed his shotgun into the dining room and enlarged his hostage count.  Holding two sets of hostages, he didn't notice UAPD Sgt. Reggie Houser slip in through a side door.  Sgt. Houser drew his .38-caliber service revolver and shot Taylor three times.  He died en route to Washington Regional Medical Center.


University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Friday, April 17, 1981

At about 6:30 this morning, senior Leo E. Kelly Jr., 22, burst out of his dorm room on the sixth floor of Bursley Residence Hall's Douglas wing, and threw a Molotov cocktail at a passing student. The bottle bounced off the student but ignited when it hit a wall.  Leo, a psychology major, then fired on students responding to the fire alarm with a sawed-off shotgun, killing Douglas C. McGreaham, 22, and Edward Siwik, 19. No motive was ever put forth. Leo claims he couldn't remember anything for 18 hours before the murders.  The instigator's attorney said that he had been ''loaded up'' on pills, which he did not identify, before the shootings. Leo was convicted on June 21, 1982, of two first-degree murder counts and sentenced to life in prison.  He still hasn't said why he opened fire on his classmates.  The mother of Edward said she had been told Kelly had planned to kill many more students.

Source: Visitor to this web site; New York Times - U. of Michigan Student Charged in Slaying of Two Other Students; The Ann Arbor Scene - Murder at Bursley Hall: This Week in Ann Arbor History (published April 19, 2011); All Michigan (blog.mlive.com) - Campus Carnage Leads Family to Relive Horror


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