School Climate & Safety

Killings in Schools Prompt Cries for Better Security

By Darcia Harris Bowman — February 11, 2004 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Two students in different East Coast cities were killed in their schools last week, prompting demands from angry parents for tighter security.

In the Miami area, a 14-year-old honor- roll student was found dead in the restroom of a middle school at about 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 3. Police said the boy was slain by a fellow 8th grader, who allegedly stabbed his victim several times with a serrated knife.

No motive for the killing had emerged from police interviews with the suspect, who was charged with first-degree murder, as of Feb. 5, according to a spokesman for the Miami-Dade County police.

A spokeswoman for the 338,000-student Florida district said Jaime Rodrigo Gough was the first student slain inside a Miami-Dade school in recent memory, and that the school, the high-performing magnet Southwood Middle School, was generally safe.

The day of the killing, anxious parents who gathered outside Southwood and were interviewed by local television stations angrily questioned the safety of the school.

When students returned to school the day after the stabbing, they were greeted by grief counselors, an increased police presence, and a “buddy” system to ensure that no student entered a restroom or any other area of the building alone, said district spokeswoman Tere Estorino.

Shooting in Washington

Safety concerns also surfaced in the nation’s capital following a deadly shooting in a troubled District of Columbia high school on Feb. 2.

In that incident, 17-year-old high school football star James Richardson died after being shot in the chest outside the cafeteria in Ballou Senior High School. A second, unidentified 18-year-old student was injured when a bullet hit his leg.

The incident happened several weeks after counselors tried to have Mr. Richardson transferred because of his involvement in an ongoing dispute between two groups of students, according to a Feb. 3 article in TheWashington Post.

On Feb. 4, police arrested Thomas J. Boykin, 18, and charged the fellow Ballou student with murder. The school district did not return calls for comment.

Washington Mayor Anthony A. Williams called last week for the local police to take over security in the city’s high schools.

Related Tags:


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Science Webinar
Real-World Problem Solving: How Invention Education Drives Student Learning
Hear from student inventors and K-12 teachers about how invention education enhances learning, opens minds, and preps students for the future.
Content provided by The Lemelson Foundation
Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety From Our Research Center What Would Make Schools Safer? Here's What Educators Say
Respondents to a national survey of educators said measures like red flag laws, more school counselors are key to any school safety law.
7 min read
Photograph of crime scene tape and school.
F.Sheehan/Education Week and Getty
School Climate & Safety From Our Research Center 'The World Feels Less Stable': Educators' Sense of School Safety Right Now
6 in 10 educators said a mass shooting by a student or outsider was their biggest source of fear.
7 min read
Woman standing on a paper boat with a tsunami wave approaching.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School Climate & Safety Texas Top Cop: Uvalde Police Could Have Ended Rampage Early On
The head of the Texas state police pronounced the law enforcement response an “abject failure.”
5 min read
FILE - Law enforcement, and other first responders, gather outside Robb Elementary School following a shooting, on May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. Law enforcement authorities had enough officers on the scene of the Uvalde school massacre to have stopped the gunman three minutes after he entered the building, the Texas public safety chief testified Tuesday, June 21 pronouncing the police response an “abject failure.”(AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, File)
School Climate & Safety 2 Police Officers Had Chance to Shoot Uvalde School Gunman, Deputy Says
The unidentified officers said they feared hitting children playing in the line of fire outside the school.
2 min read
Flowers are placed around a welcome sign outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, to honor the victims killed in Tuesday's shooting at the school.
Flowers are placed around a welcome sign outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, to honor the victims killed in the May 24th shooting at the school.
Jae C. Hong/AP