top of page

Germany School Shooting

by Izzy Kalman (April 2002)

Last month, Robert Steinhaeuser, a high school student in Erfurt, Germany, killed 18 people including himself in his school because his teachers wouldn’t let him pass his exams. This, too, is the work of a victim. Crazed with desire for revenge, he believed his maltreatment at the hands of his teachers justified his taking the life of any teacher he could get in the crosshairs of his rifle.

In many ways this incident was similar to the Columbine massacre. The main difference, though, was that the targets of the shooter’s wrath were not fellow students but teachers. Two students were killed unintentionally because they were behind a door he was shooting at.

One article that quoted a student who knew him saying that he was also a victim of teasing by peers, but not a heavy-duty victim. This is not surprising, because someone who cannot tolerate criticism from teachers is not likely to tolerate put-downs by peers. However, this problem was obviously not serious enough for him to want to kill kids.

After Columbine, the conclusion of the world was that teasing should be banned because victims of teasing can be driven to acts of extreme violence. If the same logic were applied to the shooting in Germany, we would be hearing experts proposing that schools be forbidden from giving failing grades to students. Unfortunately, the world’s students aren’t likely to have such luck.

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Why Schools Deny that Bullying Causes Suicide

Kids say they commit suicide because of bullying. Why do their schools deny it? [This is an article originally published in Psychology Today on March 3, 2014] Author’s Transparency Declaration: I decl


bottom of page