Friday, October 5, 2012

October 5, 1989 Lockdown

School Hostage

Whenever you hear about a school shooting you'll always hear Loara's name associated with them.  Early in October, 1989 Loara went on a lock down and the rest was History.  The story made news as fast as it could even without Facebook and Twitter.

Rock Hill Hearld, October 8, 1989
The real story for us was how quickly the school went into safety mode and how our Classified Employees stepped up and became the heroines of the day.  The counseling office was right next door to the room Cory Robb was holding the class hostage and when a kid ran into let the counseling secretary know what was going on Marilyn Erkenbrack stepped into action,  the student that entered was shot, she applied pressure to the wound "there was no time to be scared."  Nancy Snyder the health clerk administered first aid until paramedics arrived.

Although the employees had received no training in dealing with a hostage situation (remember this is pre-Columbine) they had received only training in earthquake and other emergency situations along with first aid training.  We know classified employees are often the first on the scene because they are not inside a classroom with 35 - 40 students under their immediate care.

Cory emulated "Heathers"
After Robb was lead away by police the day man Robert Gallegos secured classroom doors while attendance clerks Sharon Rasmussen and Linda Blain fielded numerous calls from worried parents.  The teachers hunkered down and waited for an all call that things were clear.

School Principal Jerry Glenn later commended the classified employees for their professional manner in which they handled the crisis.

I recall the day like it was yesterday, I was on the campus as a substitute in those days and it was an eye opening experience.  What lingers with me the most though is how it was handled in such a way that students dealt with the issue, faculty and staff handled it professionally and the world continued to rotate.  

Catcher in the Rye, another link

 Although potentially dangerous to all and quite scary we survived what would be a beginning to what becomes a major issue in the coming years ahead ... School violence and School bullying.  Loara seems to have an open policy in regards to student rights, Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation and Nationality.  In the 23 years here I feel that all are accepted here, I am proud to be a part of a school with that kind of acceptance.

The Inside scoop / The game changer

Although this was violence happening upon a campus, this one act brought an awareness of bullying in the late 80's that has become a national awareness of what has been going on behind the scenes for years.  

I'm not sure that anyone at any school has avoided being bullied.  I have worked with many organizations to make Loara a bully free zone.  One of those organizations, Teen Truth, has made a film called "Bully" that has been shown nationally and internationally and has made an impact on schools that many have failed to do.  I truly believe that to end bullying we need to focus on the positive that is going on a campus, to share everyone's story (because it's hard to hate someone once you know their story) and embrace student activities on all levels.  In fact, the California Association of Student Leaders (CASL) is using the theme of "Know the Story, Know the Person"  as their statewide conference theme.

Again, if you've reading these blogs, I bring up an organization that is near and dear to me, California Association of Directors of Activities (CADA), this organization has worked to further developed a program that helps Raise Student Voices, that was brought the them from The National Association of Student Councils (NASC).  Furthermore a group called the Alliance for Student Activities has become an important resource because they are bring to light what seems obvious, that the hidden equation at schools is student activities the x factor, x=student activities.  An involved student is a happy student and one that does well in school.

As October, coincidently, is anti bullying month, we as an ASB or student government want to share a message of love and embrace all that is good at schools, and Loara.  One of my students, Miguel Baligod, found this video on YouTube that I feel needs to be shared.  Although it may support a non profit I'm not fully aware the message of hope is clear and needs to be shared.

Loara is and will always be a Bully free zone.  Together we can end teasing and create a TEASE zone ... To Encourage A Safe Environment.  Let's work together to make Loara a safe, happy and healthy environment to learn.

following are articles found online in regards to the shooting.

Loara High School, Anaheim, California

Thursday, October 5, 1989

15-year-old Cordell "Cory" Robb's father committed suicide. This left the young boy in the custody of his stepfather, who wanted to move the family to San Mateo. Cory did not want leave southern California. He began dropping hints to his friends in the last few weeks that he was planning a violent act to kill his stepfather at school. He told his friends he was going to take the second period drama class hostage until his stepfather arrived, at which point he would kill the man. He showed one his neighbors a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol he had obtained and even gave some of his personal items to his friends. Around 9:30 this morning, Cory entered classroom 77, where the drama class had been focusing on overacting for the past 20 minutes.   He pulled out his pistol and a 12-gauge shotgun and ordered the teacher, Ken Tuttle, to leave. Ken told his students to grab their things and leave, however, Cory pointed one of his guns directly at Ken and said, "I don't think so." Ken then left the room. Many of the students thought Cory was part of the lesson. He sat down on a piano bench, laid out five bullets and unlocked the safety on the shotgun. He made small talk and even offered his captives sips from his can of Coca-Cola. One of the students in the room, Anthony Lopez, also 15, and still believing this to be part of the overacting lesson asked Cory if he could see is gun. Cory said, "No." and pointed his pistol at Anthony and told him to sit down. A few minutes later, after Cory had moved to the back of the room, Anthony and another student went to the front of the classroom where Cory had left the shotgun unattended. Anthony said, "If that is a real pistol then why don't you shoot me?" Cory replied, "If you want me to shoot, then I will." The two boys exchanged curse words for about ten minutes before Cory shot Anthony and wounded him in the jaw. Anthony left the room as the girls were going hysterical from the gunfire. Cory's best friend Mike Berault, 14, convinced him to let the girls leave the room. Cory agreed and the girls left the choir room. Over the next half hour, Cory talked to his mother and stepfather, and police negotiator Steve Stempniak over the phone to bring the hostage situation to a peaceful end. Steve was able to get Cory to surrender without firing another shot. He was taken into custody at 10:10 in the morning. Cory was sentenced to nine years in prison and released when he was 25-years-old.

Source: The Orange County Register - Armed Boy Holds Class Captive- Anaheim Drama Student Shot in Face Before 'Suicidal' 15-Year-Old Gives Up; The Orange County Register - Shooting Victim Thought it Was an Act

Teen-Ager Holds Class Captive at Anaheim School

October 06, 1989|BOB SCHWARTZ and MARIA NEWMAN | Times Staff Writer

A 15-year-old Loara High School student, armed with a shotgun and pistol, walked into a drama class, shot one boy in the face and held other students hostage for more than a half hour Thursday, Anaheim authorities said.

The armed ninth-grader, reportedly beset with family problems, ordered the drama teacher out of the room and later allowed the injured student and terrified female classmates to leave. The student held the rest of the class at gunpoint while talking to police on a classroom phone and then surrendered.

"Who would have thought he was serious?" said the wounded student, 15-year-old Anthony Lopez, interviewed at his hospital bed Thursday evening. "I mean, the guy was calm. He didn't look crazy. . . .

"I asked him whether the gun was for real and then I said if it was real, why didn't he just start shooting."

Lopez was in satisfactory condition at UCI Medical Center in Orange after being shot in the left side of his face. His jaw is shattered, and the bullet is lodged in his neck, said Lopez's mother, Pam Lopez. He is the son of an Anaheim police officer.

Police said the incident began shortly before 9:30 a.m. when the youth, identified by students as ninth-grader Cory Robb, entered the school's choir room where the drama class was being held and ordered the teacher, Kenneth Tuttle, to leave. The teacher tried to take the rest of the class with him, but Robb insisted that Tuttle leave alone, students said.

About 10 minutes later, after firing one shot, Robb allowed most of the girls in the class and the wounded boy to walk out, said Police Lt. Marc Hedgpeth. Police negotiators talked Robb into surrendering about 10:10 a.m.

By the time the police had talked Robb out of the room, word of the hostage situation had spread. Students were lined up to call their parents on the two pay phones outside the school office, and many of the girls were crying.

"My son called me from here and said, 'Get me out of here. There's a shooting going on,' " said Jackie Blacketer, who waited for her son Brian along with other parents who said they had heard word of the shooting on the radio or from friends and neighbors.

Most of the school's 1,600 students remained in class for the rest of the day. Two psychologists were sent to the school to talk to students from the drama class, and three psychologists will be at the campus today, said Anaheim Union High School District Assistant Supt. Lee Kellogg.

Police and school officials provided few details about the incident and what might have led up to it. Family members refused to discuss the incident. Students and parents, some shaken by the ordeal, talked about what they knew of the young man and his problems.

They described the brown-haired freshman as a troubled but friendly youth who fought bitterly with his stepfather and was upset about his family's impending move to Northern California. Several students, some of whom said they have known Robb for years, said Robb had also told them that his father, a Vietnam veteran, committed suicide, although that account could not be confirmed by family members.

Several students said Robb had hinted for the past few weeks that he was planning some act involving weapons and possible violence. But they had not taken him seriously, they said.

Drama Class

Nor did most of the students in the drama class at first take seriously the threat posed by Robb, dressed in jeans and a green T-shirt beneath a red-plaid flannel shirt, when he walked into the ampitheater-style classroom and ordered teacher Tuttle to get out.

Tuttle tried to take some students with him, Pam Lopez said, but Robb would not let him and ordered him to leave again.

The teacher could not be reached for comment.

Tuttle had been teaching the class--in which Robb was not enrolled--about the various parts of a theater stage, students said.

"Everybody thought it was a joke," said ninth-grader Season Rodriguez, who was in the room. "He came in and kicked back, said 'I'm not gonna hurt you, don't worry.' I don't think Cory meant to go in there and shoot anyone."

After Tuttle left, Robb--who police said was armed with a .12-gauge, short-barreled shotgun and a semiautomatic handgun--told the students that they could change seats and sit by their friends if they wanted to, said 15-year-old Matt Grimsley.

"He just kind of screwed around," Grimsley said. "Then he said he wanted to get back at his stepfather."

Anthony Lopez, said Season Rodriguez, mocked Robb, saying, " 'Oh, we've got a suicidal killer on our hands.' " Other students said Lopez told Robb he didn't believe the guns were real.

Robb fired one shot in the classroom of 36 students, hitting Lopez in the face, students said.

"He grabbed his face and fell down by my feet," Grimsley said. "There was blood everywhere. I went to help him, but he (Robb) said, 'Don't move.' "

1 comment:

  1. Great blog article!

    I wonder if "Sharon Rasmussen" is related to Randy Rasmussen.