School Dayz - Education or Stabbing?

New Rochelle: Police, concern surround school after stabbing (link)

Though one of the parties to this altercation is dead and the other won’t speak to protect her legal rights, the publicly known facts are simple:

On Wednesday, January 10, 2018 during school hours a large group of high school students, mostly age 16, was on a strip of North Avenue (a nearby retail-dominated street) during school hours;
A dispute of some importance broke out between two of them, 16-year-old Z'inah Brown and Valeree Schwab, two females;
Ms. Brown was accompanied by a group of male friends;
Ms. Brown stabbed Ms. Schwab to death; and
Ms. Brown was arrested yesterday, January11, 2018

The episode raises a whole host of questions, but I 'm going to confine myself to a few:

What were the students doing out of school during school hours?
Even if not scheduled for classes why were they not in the library or study halls doing homework or catching up?
Are education budgets being wisely spent on children who don't want to learn; and
Who is supervising and raising these children?

There were no guns involved, so the proliferation of guns cannot be used as a tangent to deflect from serious and profound problems.

Some schools let students out of they don’t have class. Beyond thar, some students break rules and skip school and don’t do what they should.

Yeah, they were playing hookie. What’s surprising about that? And what do you propose that schools do, beyond what they already are doing, to prevent this?


Ditching school
See above
Obviously not the parents.

Can you expand on what you think those problems are, or pose a more fleshed out topic for debate because as it is I’m having trouble seeing it.


I think we can surmise from the time of day that this could very well be during their lunch break.

I went to High School in the Stone Age, but even then, we weren’t locked in and forced to remain on campus during lunch.

I don’t know much about these children, but do you have any evidence that they “don’t want to learn?”

1.Was it lunch time? There are various legitimate reasons why they may have been out of school, but my guess is they were playing hooky.

  1. There’s no such thing as unscheduled time in high school these days. Those kids were supposed to be somewhere. I doubt it was North Avenue.

  2. Most kids don’t want to learn. The task of teachers is to engage them anyway. Sometimes this proves impossible, given the student’s home life and other issues. That doesn’t stop us from trying–and sometimes, against all odds, succeeding. Besides, what’s the alternative? Hanging out on North Avenue all day?Or the Charm School in Joliet–I mean Statesville?

  3. Well, at the time they were on North Avenue, no one. They should probably have been in school but didn’t show up or left. Who’s raising them? Mostly parents. Some parents suck at parenting, and for all kinds of reasons.

Did you hear about the girl in east Texas who was stabbed and killed while in school?


That’s probably because it was when I was a kid in first grade. It was in my school. The girl was high school age, and the school had all grades (1 through 12, we had no K). And it was 50 years ago.

So is there some point to the debate topic? Some kids do really stupid things, and apparently has always been thus.

I was, but that was probably because my high school was immense (over 1500 in my graduating class) and we would have overwhelmed the neighborhood.

High schools here do let out. Not letting kids out would hurt the local businesses, some of whom depend on student lunch traffic.

When I was in high school, in the late '60s, we had a shooting in the main hallway. Knife instead of gun and having happen outside the school seems like an improvement to me.

To take these in order -

  • They were playing hooky.
  • I am going to stick my neck way out there, and guess that Ms. Brown was not generally considered an academic over-achiever even before this. Call it a hunch. Why not? Well, that is a question that sort of answers itself - students who hang out in the library tend to out-perform those who go down to the doughnut shop and stab each other, and the kind who stab each other tend not to spend a lot of time on their homework.
  • No, but whatcha gonna do? No doubt Z’inah, Warrior Princess, is more or less a lost cause if she is knifing people at the DD, but no doubt there are a few others who can still benefit from an education. Maybe now that Ms. Brown will presumably spend a little time as a guest of the state, the atmosphere in the hallways of academia will be improved at least marginally.
  • No one in particular. I will take another wild stab, and suppose that Ms. Brown does not have a lot of contact with her father, even if her mother knows his last name. But again, whatcha gonna do? The school can’t replace decent parents.

It’s a shame, no doubt. But no one is going to debate that.


I’m surprised by the number of people who assume these kids were playing hooky. While certainly possible, I find that the least likely explanation. If I’m going to skip school, I’m not going to be hanging out anywhere nearby. I’ll be home in bed, or somewhere more fun than a doughnut shack. Personally, I left school daily during lunch for at least the last two years of high school.

Really? I only stabbed people on Thursdays in my last two years.

Hasn’t there been enough wild stabbing?

Anyhoo, I was raised in a comfortable home where I knew who my parents were, and they were generally good people, and I still felt like stabbing certain people in high school. I have to assume I wouldn’t have but you never know.

So what’s the debate here?

Is it stupid? Sure. But kids do all sorts of stupid things. Just yesterday, there were a couple of students at the school I was at (middle, not high) who asked to go to the bathroom and just never came back. I don’t imagine they got very far.

Because not all schools let students leave the building for lunch? Mine certainly didn’t, and this was back in the 1990s. I’ll ask my parents if they were allowed, but I don’t believe they were, and this is certainly not a bad area by any means.
I did, however, know a good many students who cut class. Imagine that.

From first grade through 5th grade I went home for lunch every day - there was no cafeteria at the school, so everybody went home every day for lunch. No idea how common that practice is in the rest of the country but since it was what I was used to, it seemed perfectly normal to me.

P.S. This was in the 1970s.

I moved around a lot as a kid, so I went to many different schools with many different systems. Some schools, nobody left for lunch. Other schools, everybody went home for lunch.

In high school, we had a pass system. If your grades were good and you didn’t get in trouble, you could get a pass that would allow you to leave school during lunch. This was in Los Angeles in the late 70s.

We were. Don’t think there were many stabbings.

That’s obviously the solution to all US violence, lock high schoolers in small,ugly schools at lunch time.