the killer at thurston high
the 'classroom avenger'

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[Note: This is an excerpt from "The Classroom Avenger," James P. McGee and Caren R. DeBernardo, Forensic Examiner (May-June, 1999). The study includes this important set of qualifications: "As a descriptive composite,[the "Classroom Avenger"] is not based on any type of statistical or actuarial model of prediction. Instead, it is both subjective and impressionistic and it is partially informed by a limited number of cases and an equally limited amount of fragmentary data and unconfirmed anecdotal accounts derived from official police reports and the popular media."]

Exclusionary Criteria  Characteristics not associated with Classroom Avengers

      • Female
      • Resides in large city
      • Minority status
      • Openly homosexual or bisexual
      • Membership and active participation in the following activities:
      • mainstream religious groups/churches
      • student government
      • drama, chorus, dance and other performing arts
      • boy scouts/eagle scouts
      • ROTC
      • Individual and team sports
      • Prosocial hobbies and interests
      • Attends private school
      • Humorous-"class clown"
      • Outgoing, friendly
      • Well liked by teachers, "teacher's pet"
      • Close relationships with teachers or other adults in authority
      • Has steady girlfriend
      • Popular among peers
      • Prosocial leader
      • Recipient of academic or public service awards
      • Acceptance to military academy
      • Recipient of scholarships
      • Positive and close relationships with siblings
      • Positive and close relationships with parents
      • Volunteerism
      • School spirit
      • Pacifist
      • Support for gun control
      • Specific career aspirations
      • Enthusiasm about present and future
      • No guns in home
      • No interest in violence
      • Drug/alcohol abuse
      • Body piercing/tattoos
      • Physical handicap
      • Mental retardation
      • Severe learning disability
      • Severe mental illness such as Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder
      • Consistently poor academic performance
      • Severe and evident conduct disorder
      • Well documented history of extensive criminal/delinquent behavior
      • Chronic truancy
      • Recurrent extreme belligerence towards teachers and school authorities
      • Frequent physical fights


Inclusionary Criteria Characteristics associated with Classroom Avengers
      • Male
      • Caucasian
      • Middle Class
      • Average age 16
      • Rural or small community residence in south or northwest
      • Physically healthy
      • Dysfunctional family (superficially normal)
      • Family anger and power struggles
      • Poor parent and sibling relationships
      • Loner/social outcast
      • Member of alienated group
      • Attends public school
      • Family history of mental illness, personality disorders or substance abuse
      • Guns in the home, proficiency with firearms
      • Appearance of normality to adults
      • Negative self-image and unstable self-esteem
      • "Geeks or nerds" who are rejected by mainstream students
      • No physical handicaps, disabilities, mental retardation or severe mental illness
      • As infants-colicky, temperamental, delayed milestones
      • Problems with attachment and bonding
      • Average to above average IQ
      • No history of serious school/conduct problems
      • Covert vandalism and dishonesty
      • Distrustful and secretive with adults in authority
      • Immature
      • No participation in prosocial groups or "normal" pastimes
      • Interest in real and fictional violence in the media
      • Atypical depression with action equivalents
      • Mixed personality disorder with paranoid, antisocial, and narcissistic features
      • Motive vengeance and achievement of power/status
      • Violent fantasies
      • Premeditation/planning/surveillance of targets
      • Target female and high functioning students
      • Stalking of females
      • Menninger Triad (suicidal, homicidal, suicide by cop)
      • Recent multiple psychological stresssors including rejection, discipline, humiliation
      • Copycat influence
      • Inappropriate communications of intent

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