Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Jessie Klein

Adelphi University professor of sociology and criminal justice Jessie Klein is the author of The Bully Society: School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America's Schools.

From her Publishers Weekly Q & A with Marc Schultz :

How did your research into bullying and school shootings begin?

I started this research back in 1997 when I heard Luke Woodham in Mississippi explain why he committed his school shooting. He said: “I am not insane, I am angry. I killed because people like me are mistreated every day.” He explained that he was upset about being called “gay” and he was enraged that his girlfriend broke up with him. He killed her in the shooting.

I was struck by how similar his complaints were to American children more broadly. Kids get called “gay” in school every day and many are in pain over broken relationships. Other kids may commit suicide, become depressed, anxious, truant, cut themselves, or turn to substance abuse. I show in The Bully Society that the school shootings are only the most horrific response to the same debilitating and painful school conditions that American children face every day. Kids are getting taunted, teased and assaulted—and facing huge emotional challenges—completely on their own. The Bully Society shows that school shootings actually magnify school environments that need to be changed. I’ve written a lot of popular and scholarly articles since 1997 when I first heard about that case. You can see some of them on my website.

The Ohio school shooting on Monday [Reuters story] has brought the issue back to the forefront almost simultaneously with the release of your book—could you have anticipated that timing? Were we "due"?

The Ohio school shooting coincides with the release of The Bully Society because school shootings continue to happen with some regularity. Anyone could...[read on]
Visit Jessie Klein's website.

--Marshal Zeringue