I turned on the radio on Friday morning and heard some talk of security at schools, and just what is appropriate. The conversation continued with a report that there had been a stabbing at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School - here in my town of Sudbury, 17 miles west of Boston. My 15 year old son Jeffrey attends school there as a freshman.
James Alenson, also a 15 year old freshman was involved in some sort of fight in one of the boys' bathrooms with John Odgren, a 16 year old sophmore.
James died less than an hour later from knife wounds to his stomach and heart, as well as his neck.
Odgren lives in Princeton, MA (45 min west) but attended school here under a program called 'GO' - Great Opportunities. He has a mild form of autism, called Ausperger syndrome, and was on several medications.
Students described him as a loner (we have all heard this before...) who wore a trench coat, and often spoke of violence. The day before, he had described to a friend about a book he was reading - and how he was fascinated by a part that described the sound of dripping blood.
And there were other indications in his conversations of this dangerous mind at work. He gave signals...
James' family moved to Sudbury just 6 months ago... for the great school system - as did we.
My heart goes out for James Alenson's family.
Dale StephanosJanuary 22, 2007
John, this is really powerful stuff. For those of us who live in the area, this was a very disturbing story.
Adam McCauleyJanuary 22, 2007
Ugh. How horrible, for all involved.
Peter CusackJanuary 22, 2007
Very moving post. This is just an aweful story and I'm so sorry that thing like this happen. John your drawings are very powerful. Thanks.
David G KleinJanuary 22, 2007
Heartbreaking. And every parent's horror.
Nick RamosJanuary 23, 2007
That's really awfull...I no longer live in Massachusetts, but it's know that Lincoln- Sudbury andd neighboring Concord are supposed ti have great schools. I happen to have 2 nephews who are autistic (they are identical twins), one who can functiion on his own and one who can't. The issue is a lot more complicated than it appears. I do agree with everone else that's a terrible thing.... very very sad....and I would hate to be in the position of James parents. That's a reminder to hold your kids a little closer and make sure to tell them that you love them.
Mike MoranJanuary 23, 2007
I just hate to hear these stories... very sad.
J.S.DykesJanuary 23, 2007
The whole thing is sickening. And Nick - you are right - it is much more complicated than can be explained in a sentence or two...
Jim PaillotJanuary 23, 2007
A parent's worst nightmare. These stories just make me sick and sad. Nick's got the right idea... hug your kids and let them know you care.
Hal MayforthJanuary 23, 2007
Our youngest son is 15 and seeing James' picture in the paper just broke my heart.
Josh McKibleJanuary 23, 2007
That is a heartbreaking story.
And the youth and promise in your render of James just makes my throat get all tight.
The parents of John Odgren must be going through hell as well. It's just a tragedy all around.
J.S.DykesJanuary 23, 2007
Josh, This is one of those things that is terrible for everyone. Odgren's parents tried various schools for him(and McClean Hospital, I believe)... he had behavioral problems, and a volitile side as well. Why he came to Sudbury's public school, I do not know. He was supposed to have been monitored. You can monitor someone all you want - but if one is intent on doing something such as he did - it is difficult to prevent.
What affects me almost profoundly, besides having it occur right here, is that I see - with eerie similarity - my younger brother, my neighbor, and even my own two sons - in James' appearance. It's just too close.