Alan Schoenfeld


Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings. Katherine S. Newman* et al.: Basic Books, 2004. Pp. 399. $27.50.

When the United States was struck with a rash of rampage school shootings in 1998 and 1999-eleven shootings that left dozens of students and teachers dead-the educational and legal establishments were unable to offer a coherent explanation for what had happened or formulate a decisive response. Invariably, pundits and policymakers focused on the shooters and what had gone wrong with them: What personality defects, family situations, or miscreant music had led them to commit these heinous acts? Political conservatives called for moral education and the return of prayer in school, and political liberals, most legal academics among them, worried that the shootings would lead to a militarization of schools and the rollback of students' free expression rights.

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