As a result, the boy was charged with six counts of shooting with the intent to kill, and one count of possessing a weapon on school property, where he was found guilty on all counts and recommended to be placed in a state juvenile institution where he will receive "the most extreme treatment available under this system." (Heck, 2001)
The situation elicited numerous responses from the people involved. While all federal, state, and county law enforcement personnel, together with ambulance units, responded with professionalism and urgency, the subsequent reactions of parents, town members, the school, and the media have been varied. School officials called parents to inform them of the incident, panic ensued as news spread to the media and the rest of the town. Thus, law enforcement officers found it difficult to secure the crime scene and attend to the situation. Furthermore, the incident also elicited fear within the community concerned that the incident may happen again.
Due to the gravity of the situation, and the amount of national and international attention given to the school regarding the shooting, the school responded with a zero-tolerance policy against violence. To ensure the safety of students and reassure the community that the incident will not happen again, the school superintendent issued a letter addressed to parents announcing a policy that aims to suppress gestures and comments that lean towards violent behavior. Such gestures include pointing a finger towards another person while pretending to shoot, or comments such as "You're dead," "I could just kill you for that," "You are the reason students bring guns to school and shoot teachers," or "Someone should take a bomb and blow up this place." (Heck, 2001). The policy also states that the school will take formal action against students found to have committed such gestures or comments, including filing police reports, suspension, and requiring the student to undergo psychological evaluation and counseling. Since the policy was enacted, a number of students were reported to have committed such gestures leaving the Fort Gibson Police Department with their hands full, spending most of their time in the school.
As the incident and the events that followed illustrates, youth violence is a real problem, and schools, faced with the overwhelming pressure that the community places on them often respond by recommending the most severe punishment possible to the offender and enacting equally severe policies to the rest of the student population. While the immediate action and apparent concern the community, the parents, law enforcement, and the school in Fort Gibson illustrated in the incident are commendable. The actions taken by the court in disciplining the student and the school in ensuring that the incident does not happen again seem to have missed addressing the real problem of youth violence.
First, with regard to the student, placing him in a juvenile delinquent system, where violent kids and a violent atmosphere are present, might prove detrimental to his mental state. Prior to the shooting, the student was considered a model among his peers, and based on the student's psychological analysis, his violent act was the outcome of a number of factors including the possible psychotic side-effects including depression and psychotic breakdowns due to his