A quiet, New England town is rocked by the tragedy of a school shooting at their local high school. "Social Studies" taps into the lives and thoughts of the victims, the teachers, and the killers themselves. A hard look at the social lives of the American high school student and what would drive them to decide to take life, even if it is their own.
Heath Andolini is twenty-two years old and fresh out of college, wasn't sure if he was ready to be a teacher. No one at South Haven High School was ready for what would happen.
South Haven is rocked by the news of a school shooting that happened in their quiet New England town. Many are dead, and all the survivors have been scarred for life. The community is left to wonder not only how did this happen but why did this happen.
Social Studies taps into the lives and thoughts of both the victims and the killers. It is an intimate view of a devastating tragedy and the lives of those leading up to such an event. It attempts to explain why teenagers would decide to randomly take life, even if it is their own. While Social Studies leaves the reader with some answers, it also opens the door for more.
Billy had a tough time falling asleep that night. After rolling around in his bed a few times he caught his red digital alarm clock and saw that is was 1:32 a.m., officially the next day. He got out of bed and went to his computer and logged into his Facebook account.
As expected he did not see much mention of Jude’s birthday. For his status message he typed something he felt appropriate:
Happy Birthday Jude, going to throw you a birthday party tomorrow no one will forget.
From page 423 of "Social Studies"
How did it get this bad? Bad, I can’t think of anything worse. I never thought in my life I would kill a kid. Kill, but you did not murder; it was self-defense. Still, to see someone’s lights go out because of your actions brings so much guilt, the circumstances are insignificant—Well, you can’t think of that now. You got to think about what you’re going to do now. Try to get out of here alive. How, by wallowing in guilt? No. Will you kill again, if you must? If I must. Then you’re ready, now get going. And if you live the rest of your days with remorse for what you did today, than you were lucky.
From page 6 of "Social Studies."
I don’t need to go into more detail about the rest of the school day. The kids took turns asking us more about the incident and we told them as little as possible. Girls cried, and boys started to act like men and comforted them. Barry went home for obvious reasons. I heard he was a mess, which was understandable. The rest of the day, we staff members struggled to hold back our tears as the kids let out theirs. The Yale counselors came, but with only ten minutes of school left. Some kids stayed to talk to them, but most of them just wanted to go home. They would be back the next day and the teachers were instructed not to try to teach any form of a lesson tomorrow.
Bobbi came over and cried in my arms for what seemed a century that night, and yet not long enough. Not enough to get everything out. No sex that day. We couldn’t even think of it. I needed more from her than just sex. She had the power to give me that. We just talked. She even asked me to roll a joint to help lighten her up. It helped a little, but not much. That sense of helplessness actually felt magnified. She kept asking why he did it, the question a lot of people were asking that day. But I was her man and she looked to me for some kind of guidance, or support. I tried to explain it as best I could.
“Love destroys perception.”
From page 327 of "Social Studies"