School Suspends H.S. Senior for Poem About Newtown, Adam Lanza
SAN FRANCISCO — (CNN) A high school student is facing possible expulsion for writing a dark poem about the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Courtni Webb didn’t write a memorial to the victims or voice her grief about the devastating incident. Instead, she said she could see what drove Adam Lanza to do what he did.
“I understand the killings in Connecticut. I know why he pulled the trigger,” Courtni’s poem says.
School officials at the Life Learning Academy on Treasure Island suspended the 17-year-old senior until further notice.
“Why are we oppressed by a dysfunctional community of haters and blamers. The meaning of the poem is 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,” Courtni explained.
Courtni didn’t turn the poem in as an assignment. Instead, the teacher discovered it in class and took it to the principal. Courtni says she’s turned in dark poems before– about suicide and sadness.
“For example, the only person I can think of would be like Stephen King. He writes weird stuff all the time. That doesn’t mean he’s gonna do it or act it out.”
The school says things have changed drastically since December 14th when Adam Lanza, 20, took guns belonging to his mother, Nancy, and shot her as she slept in her bed. Then he went to the school in Newtown, Connecticut, where he gunned down 20 children and six staff members before killing himself.
School officials say there is now a zero tolerance approach to violence, the threat of violence and any violation can result in dismissal from school.
“I feel like they’re over reacting. Why? Because my daughter doesn’t have a history of violence. She didn’t threaten anybody. She didn’t threaten herself. She simply said she understood why,” Courtni’s mother said.
The San Francisco Unified School District will decide if Courtni’s poem was a form of art or a genuine threat to the safety of fellow students.
Meanwhile, the father of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter Adam Lanza claimed his body last week, a family spokesman said.
Peter Lanza claimed the body Thursday, spokesman Errol Cockfield said. He declined to specify where the body would be buried.
Peter Lanza was questioned by authorities after the shooting, as was the gunman’s 24-year-old brother, Ryan.
Authorities have offered few details about Adam Lanza. He had no known criminal record, authorities have said.
Geneticists are now studying Adam Lanza’s DNA, a spokeswoman for the University of Connecticut Health Center said last week.
The geneticists were asked to join the investigation by the state medical examiner’s office, spokeswoman Carolyn Pennington told CNN. She said that there is no specific genetic marker the team is looking for, and that lab results and a complete analysis of the DNA “are not expected for several weeks … probably the end of January.”
While experts agree that there are genetic components to many mental illnesses, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of genes involved. Most believe that no single gene or mutation alone could foretell violent acts like those committed by Adam Lanza.
After the school massacre, Peter Lanza released a statement saying that his family is “grieving along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy.”
“Our hearts go out to the families and friends who lost loved ones and to all those who were injured,” the father said. “We are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can. We, too, are asking why.”
CNN’s Lawrence Crook and Nick Valencia contributed to this report.