S.F. Student Writes "Dark" Poem About Newtown School Shooting, Gets Suspended

Categories: Education

via ABC7
Courtni reads her poem
Update 2:27 p.m.: Heidi Anderson, spokeswoman with San Francisco Unified School District, told us that Life Learning Academy is a charter school, and therefore SFUSD is not involved in its student discipline.

Original Story 12:10 p.m.: A high school senior is facing expulsion after writing a poem that raised some red flags for local school officials.

ABC7 reports that Courtni Webb was suspended for the "dark" prose she penned less than two weeks after 20 students and six school officials were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Specifically, Life Learning Academy officials on Treasure Island in San Francisco were a bit alarmed by this line in Webb's poem:

I understand the killings in Connecticut. I know why he pulled the trigger. Why are we oppressed by a dysfunctional community of haters and blamers?

School officials are considering expelling her, although Webb told ABC7 that her poem was nothing more than a commentary on society. In fact, she says she often writes poems -- and turns them in to her teachers - that talk about suicide and sadness.

"The meaning of the poem is just talking about society and how I understand why things like that incident happened. So it's not like I'm agreeing with it, but that's how the school made it seem," Webb told the news outlet.

SF Weekly contacted the school district for comment, we'll let you know if we hear back.

The poem wasn't a class assignment; rather, a teacher discovered it in class and didn't hesitate to report it to the school principal.

Webb likened herself to Stephen King, saying the macabre novelist writes "weird stuff all the time" but that doesn't mean he's going to do it or act it out, she said.

But after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., schools like Life Learning Academy aren't taking its chances. The academy has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to the threat of violence. A "violation of any one of these rules can result in dismissal from school."

The girl's mother, Valerie Statham, said that she felt the school was overreacting, especially since her daughter has no history of violent behavior. "She didn't threaten anybody. She didn't threaten herself. She simply said she understood why."

Statham is expecting to hear from the district when school resumes on Jan. 7.

My Voice Nation Help

I would be concerned over the teacher who thought it was OK to violate this girls privacy by going through her things.


Total over-reaction by clueless administrators. Courtni's comparison with Stephen King is very relevant -- they should try reading his book "Rage", which is an explicitly violent story of a school shooting featuring the shooter as narrator/protagonist. No doubt they would have expelled the future best-selling novelist if he'd been their student, but his constructive life, and his creative work which is loved by millions, is evidence that they would have been wrong to do so. 

The futile and dangerous obsession with trying to make everything totally safe and harmless is an even greater evil than the tragedies it seeks to prevent. It lulls people into dependency and a false sense of security, sapping the vitality of the people and ultimately doing little to make them safer.


@TheMontyShow no way should this girl have been suspended. Critical thinking and writing it down is not dangerous or threatening.


Right. You want to nerf the world and then you're shocked when something like this happens. 

Maximiliano Arturo Cortes
Maximiliano Arturo Cortes

TOTALLY!!! Just the other day some school called the cops because they saw some suspicious figure close to a school holding what looked like a gun, but instead it was an old man with a cane.. SMDH

Now Trending

San Francisco Concert Tickets

From the Vault


©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.