Sunday, April 28, 2019

Remembering the Grover Cleveland Elementary School Shooting (San Diego, CA - January, 1979)

(Posted here on April 28th, 2019, one day after the Poway Synagogue Shooting)

It’s been 20 years since Columbine. Watching it unfold on television in 1999 (while I was a grad student studying biology) left a deep impact on my psyche.

It was a big reason I decided to shift the direction of my academic studies. As I wrote in my doctoral dissertation (in the field of Science and Technology Studies):

While I have been interested in subcultures since my youth, I did not decide to make them a primary focus of my studies until April 20th, 1999, the day of the Columbine High School massacre.

Yesterday, as I was driving, a song on one of my Spotify playlists started to play: “I Don’t Like Mondays” by The Boomtown Rats. That song, of course, references the Cleveland Elementary School shooting that took place in San Diego in 1979, one of the first high profile mass school shootings perpetrated by a minor. Two adults were killed; one policeman and 8 children were injured.

For years, ever since moving to San Diego, I’ve wanted to visit the school and see the memorial plaque.

Today, reminded by the song and the coverage of Columbine, I decided to make the trip to the San Carlos neighborhood of San Diego.

In recent years, the school site has been replaced by a housing development. The original monument was moved to a new location nearby. It’s now on the corner of the development, at the intersection of Lake Atlin Avenue and Lake Angela Drive.

Please take a moment to remember the two men whose lives were tragically lost as they tried to protect the students under their care: Principal Burton Wragg and Head Custodian Michael Suchar.