Since Columbine, the topic of school shootings has become ever more prevalent in the media, in research, and in fiction. This book provides analyses of several Young Adult (YA) texts about school shootings and uncovers how the authors represent such violence (and those who perpetrate it) while developing stories that effectively speak to their adolescent readers. Employing Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory, Laura A. Brown examines how the texts frame particular settings and events as important to the development of young people as a way of accounting for the shootings. Likewise, psychologist Peter Langman’s classification of the three populations of school shooters is utilized as a framework to analyze the characterization of fictional shooters in the texts. The author argues that these texts, while not easy to read, are important, as they problematize the ways we think about, approach, and react to school shootings and the students who commit such acts.
Laura A. Brown is associate professor at the State University of New York, and department chair of secondary education.
Chapter 1: Schools
Chapter 2: Peers
Chapter 3: Parents
Chapter 4: Media and Technology
Chapter 5: Sociocutural Norms & Gun Access
Chapter 6: Traumatized School Shooters
Chapter 7: Psychopathic School Shooters
Chapter 8: Psychotic School Shooters
Chapter 9: Outliers
Chapter 10: Community Fallout
Chapter 11: School Reactions & Policies
The potential for young adult literature to help teenagers process the tragedy of school shootings is undeniable. In her thorough and insightful study, Dr. Laura Brown (SUNY Potsdam) examines the best YA literature has to offer on the subject of school shootings, distilling the whole into a useful essence. What are the most common variables in these stories, and how do these variables play out in predicting the actions of main players? Using data from 37 school shootings collected by the FBI, Secret Service, and US Department of Education as touch points, Brown applies sophisticated sociological theories to dissect 16 books from outstanding authors, analyzing how complex systems work with and against each other to produce tragic outcomes. As a veteran high school teacher, administrator and university education professor, Brown is adept at ferreting out the important details of each story and comparing them to the facts. This book is a great resource for curriculum specialists hoping to find just the right text to help their students make sense of it all.
Dr. Brown’s research into one of the more pressing dilemmas currently facing our society is direct, honest, and not afraid to ask hard and necessary questions. More importantly, in examining school shootings through a wide range of characters and perspectives, Dr. Brown hits on the most important element that is often missed until the consequences are too late: the need to listen to those in most need of help.
Repository of Pain. This monograph examines sixteen young adult novels using Bronfenbrenner’s ecosystems to reveal how a short lifetime steeped in psychological betrayal, emotional neglect and indifference violently impacts susceptible adolescents. Additionally, School Gun Violence in YA Literature showcases feckless parents and teachers being absent in the process of schooling. This book belongs on the shelves of school administrators, counselors, and teachers.