And the words echo to fade...
LOS ANGELES, Calif -- Jonah Simpson was suspended at Freemont High School last week for violating the new Three Degrees of Separation rule the LA School Board approved to thwart students who may be thinking of going on a killing spree, says Gail Wilkingston, FHS spokesperson.
"Master Simpson violated our litmus test that was put in place to 'head off at the pass', so to speak, people we feeel might be contemplating some spontaneous or even planned act of shooting at the school."
This new concept, which has not been tried anywhere, was an idea foreign to this reporter. When asked if Simpson was thinking of shooting any of the students, Ms Wilkingston replied, "No."
She went on to explain.
"With three degrees of separation, the student's thoughts should be as far from contemplating acts of violence as possible. So, to play it safe, we chose three degrees of separation. The student must not only not be thinking of shooting students, but he must not be thinking of someone else who is thinking of someone thinking of shooting a firearm."
Jonah Simpson, who just turned 18 and is a senior at Freemont High School was asked about this.
"Wow. Where do I start? I was in biology lab, talking with my lab partner as we were about to dissect a shark. I told him that my dad was at the grocery store the other day and was talking to the guy bagging groceries who told him how his neighbor was thinking of shooting the squirrel that got into his attic. The biology teacher overheard me. I saw him start mumbling to himself while his fingers counted one...two...three. He jerked his head up and looked at me and his face started turning red. He shouted to the other students 'Quick! Everyone! Except Jonah! Get behind me!'
Then he started yelling 'THREE DEGREES!! THREE DEGREES!'"
When asked what happened next, he said, "Mr. Trencher, the teacher, had everyone get under the desks behind him. He was really shaking while he dialed 911 to call the police.
Then, he called the Principal who announced over the PA system that the entire school was in lock down. There I was standing there the whole time completely confused as to what I had done."
When asked about the police response, Jonah said, "What could they do? There was no gun. There was no threat. There was nothing! So they left."
This reporter later talked some more with Ms Wilkingston about the inability of the police to take control of the situation. "Well, we realize this raises the whole issue of dealing with violence in the classroom to a new level. We are working with authorities as to how to deal with very serious threats such as this. We are also in communication with State Senator Pulaski about the pending legislation that criminalizes such behavior."
Mr. Trencher was asked about the ordeal. "Yeah, I was pretty scared. I don't think I've ever been in such a harrowing situation. It was almost as if I saw my life past before my eyes. But you just have to suck it up and deal with the situation. I had to put myself between Jonah and the other children. There wasn't time to think about myself."