R.I.P – Christopher Penley

Early Sunday morning Christopher Penley was pronounced dead. The fifteen year old was shot at his school on Friday by deputies while holding a pellet gun. Family and friends were quoted as saying he was emotionally troubled, was bullied at his school, and had even run away from home on numerous occasions…

I can not fault the officers for taking steps to protect their lives, but I also wonder why the information proffered by Christopher’s father—that he was holding a pellet gun—was never conveyed to law enforcement at the scene. In any case this is another tragedy which could have been avoided.
First, the sheriff of Seminole County is a proponent of Crisis Intervention Training. Whether these officers had taken the course on how to deal with the mentally ill is unknown.
Second, the school did nothing to intervene on the behalf of the young man who was being bullied. Know that if Governor Bush’s succeeds in his plans to have school districts bear the brunt of financing the class size amendment there will be even less funds available for counselors.
Finally, I wonder if mental health services were available for Christopher Penley and if they were did his family avail themselves of those services?
There is no way for us to know what was going through Christopher Penley’s mind when he brought a pellet gun to school but we need to know there are many more troubled children out there. We all need to do everything possible to prevent another tragedy such as this.