However, it would seem that many in the student body who were not injured during the tragedy may also suffer long-term distress. The University of Oregon conducted a study among students at Thurston High School in Springfield OR. Kipland Kinkel, aged 15 at the time, murdered two fellow students on 1998-MAY-21: Ben Walker, 16, and Mikael Nickolauson, 17. He had killed his parents, Bill and Faith Kinkel, at home during the previous day. 25 were injured at Thurston.
On the second anniversary of the shooting, researchers circulated a 50 page questionnaire among students who attended school at the time of the shooting, students who had graduated before the shooting, and a control group of students from nearby Corvallis high school. Results were released on the third anniversary of the tragedy:
Some students continue to think of the tragedy almost every day. Josh Ryker, 17, saw his brother, Jake, injured. They both wrestled Kinkel to the ground. Josh said: "I don’t understand, I can’t comprehend, how it wouldn’t be on their minds if they were here that day."
But life goes on. Paul Halupa, a Thurston teacher commented: "It is hard to bury joy indefinitely. I find the rebirth of joy in this case far from being an insult to those who were hurt and scarred, but a tribute to those who were hurt and scarred." Principal Catherine Spencer said "I get the very distinct sense from them that it’s well past time to go on. They are looking to the future, and that’s what they want to celebrate. They don’t want to be known as tragic children."
Kinkel is currently serving the rest of his 112-year sentence. He is working towards his high school diploma.
Copyright © 2001 by Ontario Consultants on Religious