School Climate & Safety

21 Injured in Mass Stabbing at Pennsylvania High School

By Evie Blad — April 09, 2014 1 min read
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Twenty-one people were injured, at least four of them seriously, when a 16-year-old fellow student wielding two knives went on a stabbing rampage at a high school in Murrysville, Pa., this morning, according to various news reports. An armed school guard and a principal helped subdue and arrest the attacker.

From the Chicago Tribune:

The attacker moved stealthily through Franklin Regional High School, stabbing his victims in the torso and slashing arms and faces before anyone realized what was happening, students and officials said. Some of the injured taken to nearby hospitals were in critical condition, doctors said. Students described a scene of panic, with the school hastily evacuated after a fire alarm was pulled. The unidentified sophomore suspected in the attack was in police custody, said Tom Seefeld, the chief of police in Murrysville. The attacks began around 7:13 a.m. EDT in several classrooms and hallways of the school in Murrysville, 20 miles east of Pittsburgh, officials said."

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued the following statement:

We are saddened by today's stabbings at Franklin Regional High School. Our thoughts go out to the injured students and staff, and their families, the other students and teachers at the school, and the Murrysville community at large. Tragedies that strike communities—whether it's an inner city school or in a suburban school in a quiet town—impact us all. When we send our children to school each day, we expect them to return home safely. Staff and students at every school deserve to work and learn in a safe environment. We will do everything in our power to assist and support the students, school staff, and community of Murrysville in this unsettling time."

While shootings get more attention than other forms of school violence, school safety experts say nonfatal and smaller-scale attacks that don’t involve guns are also a concern. In the 2009-2010 school year, the most recent for which data is available, U.S. schools reported 72,300 incidents of student possession of a gun or sharp object on school grounds, compared to 5,000 reports of possession of a firearm or explosive device.

Photo: A woman walks onto the campus of the Franklin Regional School District where several people were stabbed at Franklin Regional High School on Wednesday. --Keith Srakocic/AP

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.