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Now Playing “The two shooters were not bullied per se — they were some of the biggest bullies in the building and had very imposing and commanding presences,” Mosier said. Maize science teacher Wayne Sill started working at Columbine in 2003. He said that when he started the kids who experienced the event had already graduated, but the staff was still affected by it. “One of my very close friends had to deal with PTSD,” Sill said. “If the fire alarms went off while we were doing a fire drill, that really triggered an anxiety episode with him.” Sill, who left Columbine in 2005, said the school is a lot like Maize. “Demographics, the type of students, the economics of the students that attend that school are almost identical,” Sill said. “… There are a lot of similarities, and we in our current culture and society are at risk.”

Mental health issue

Sill and Mosier said that in the future the best way to stop school shootings is to look into mental health issues. “One of the major issues I see is the lack of quality mental health support and even finding out that there are issues to begin with,” Mosier said. “All systems [justice, school, mental health and medical] should be able to work together when there is a possibility of a threat. Giving teachers more support to actually do our jobs of educating kids and caring about their success and supporting them would work wonders.” Cruz, the Florida shooter, had posted on most of his social media about guns. The sheriff, Scott Israel, reported that 23 disturbance calls had been made about Cruz, and on a YouTube video, Cruz commented: “I want to be a professional school shooter.” This led to the person who posted the video reporting it to the FBI. On Jan. 5, someone close to Cruz reported him to the FBI, warning them about his gun ownership and his violent mindset. Two days after the shooting, the FBI released a statement stating that the tip did not follow protocol when the information was not forwarded to the Miami field office, where the investigation would have taken place. “He was talking about the issue, he

was talking about what he was thinking about doing,” Congressman Ron Estes said during a recent visit at Maize. “Somehow we have got to look at our approach to how do we, one, maintain people’s rights to privacy … but also recognize that there are situations where they do need help, where they do need some involvement, some interaction with others to help make them feel a decision that makes them do some of those horrible things.” Yon said she rode the bus with Cruz her freshman year and that he often seemed distant and uninvolved. “His eyes were always just very crazy looking and staring off blankly,” she said. “I would try to be really nice, because I didn’t know if he was OK or he just always seemed kind of sad and not there.” Botts said that after the events in Flor-

“Those memories are still very vivid to me.” ­—Jeff Piper, Maize Detective ida, the teachers got together the next inservice day to discuss safety and ways to make connections with every student to help those who show signs of mental health disorders. “We talked to teachers about making connections, making sure that every student has an adult in the building that they are connected to,” he said. “If they are not, then we need to start focusing more on those kids.” Botts said school shootings aren’t random incidents. “It’s a student or a graduate or someone who’s had a relative in the building,” he said. “They’re known. Most of the time, I would bet there was a red flag somewhere.” Maize sophomore Lucy Axmann said in response to the Play survey that she

thinks the school does a good job at caring for all the students. “The school attempts to address the underlying mental issues that students have,” she said. “Include said students in things like clubs, and get them help.”

‘Didn’t fit in’

On the cold morning of January 21 in 1985, 14-year old James Alan Kearbey woke up and got ready for school. He walked toward Goddard Junior High School armed with a fully loaded M1A .308-caliber semiautomatic rifle and a .357-caliber Magnum pistol. His only intention that day was to kill people on his list. Kearbey walked up and down the halls of Goddard Junior High, searching for the names on his list. He murdered one person and three others were injured. “Kearbey didn’t fit in,” Ronny Lieurance, Goddard’s police chief, said in an interview with Play. “But he also didn’t write any letters or tell anyone ahead of time. He was just a kid that didn’t get along with a lot of people. I think he might’ve had a small group of friends, and they were just as different as he was.” One of the people on the hit list was Marc Bennett. Now Sedgwick County’s District Attorney, Bennett was a freshman at Goddard. He was on a family vacation the week of the shooting. “We didn’t get along,” Bennett said. “How do I feel about that? I’ve been thinking about that question for years.” Similar to the shooters at Columbine, Kearbey despised athletes. “Kearbey had a real hating for the jocks, and Bennett was one of those,” Lieurance said. “It’s hard to tell how the whole dynamic would’ve changed if Mr. Bennett would’ve been there that day. If Kearbey would’ve stopped at just shooting him [Bennett], if he would’ve shot everyone in the classroom and turned it into a Sandy Hook.” After searching Bennett’s classroom, Kearbey continued down the hall where he was stopped shortly after passing the front office. Principal James McGee had caught word of Kearbey’s actions and stepped into the hall to confront him. “Once he heard his name he turned, held the rifle waist high and shot, hitting McGee in the chest,” Lieurance said.

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