A Case of the Mondays: Brenda Spencer and the Cleveland Elementary School Shooting

Brenda Spencer on October 1, 1979 after pleading guilty to her crimes | Courtesy of Bing Images

“Ugh, it’s Monday” are the words that usually follow the arrival of the most dreaded day of the week. The sighs floating in the air are palpable and nothing seems possible. Mondays always carry with them a negative connotation and contain components such as depression, fatigue, and anguish. But to a San Diego elementary school, and to a troubled sixteen year old, Monday, January 29, 1979 held an even more distressing meaning.

Brenda Spencer’s home, from which she made her shots at the elementary school (taken in 2008) | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Students at Grover Cleveland Elementary School, located in San Diego, California, began what they believed would be a normal Monday morning like any other, with bells ringing and students racing to their classes. Little did they know, however, that across the street, sixteen-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer was aiming her .22 caliber semiautomatic rifle right at society’s ultimate refuge, the elementary school, and its surroundings. After the first bell rang, Brenda broke the panels on the front door of her home, which was located right across the street from the elementary school. And she began to fire. The school’s principal, Burton Wragg, while rushing outside, was hit on the shoulder and chest with Spencer’s bullets and eventually died. Michael Suchar, the school’s custodian, ran outside with a blanket in order to cover Wragg and keep him from going into shock, but he quickly became the second victim of Spencer’s shooting and lost his life. In between all the chaos, 28 year old Robert Robb, a recent graduate of the police academy, while examining Wragg’s and Suchar’s bodies, was shot under his right shoulder blade.1 He would go on to survive though, along with the eight other children who were wounded in the incident. At least three of those children had abdominal wounds. A nine-year-old student, Cam Miller, was struck in the back with a bullet that exited through his chest without hitting any internal organs. Another, Christy Buell, was shot through her abdomen and in the buttocks, and had to undergo surgery in order to repair her intestine.2

When Gus Stevens, a reporter for the San Diego Evening Tribune, began calling around the area to gain more information about the shooting, he coincidentally placed a call to Spencer’s home where she gave him exactly what he wanted. She described the shooter, a sixteen year old, and the shooter’s address. When Stevens realized that she gave him her own address, he recognized what was going on and requested an interview while another staff member informed the police of the situation. The police, now aware of where the shots were coming from, were able evacuate the children and obstruct Spencer’s line of sight while trying to negotiate with her. After several hours, Brenda Spencer surrendered her weapon and several rounds of ammunition, and was subsequently arrested. While on the phone with Stevens, Spencer had stated that she was just shooting for the “fun of it.” She went on to say that she just didn’t like Mondays and did this “because it’s a way to cheer up the day.”3

Brenda Spencer’s Mugshot taken in 1996 | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Contrary to her initial claim, she later went on to state in her 2001 parole hearing that she had been “sexually abused by [her] father” and was “waiting for the cops to show up so they could shoot [her].”4 This new information has fueled many more theories today about Brenda Spencer’s true motives in committing such a crime. During her pretrial psychological testing, an injury to Spencer’s temporal lobe came to light. Spencer has also stated in a letter from prison that she experiences “grand mal seizures” that she has to counteract with medications.5 Such a brain injury would definitely be a precursor to epilepsy, which is two to four times more common among violent offenders than the public.6 The lack of treatment she received for this disease, to some, proves the neglect that she experienced from her family and in her childhood. Psychologist Jonathan Fast introduces the idea that her brain injury, abuse, and the effects of it pushed her to her final actions. He believes that the shame, ridicule, inferiority, and powerlessness that she felt encouraged her to go as far as she did. In another letter she wrote in prison, she stated that her “father had done everything a person could do to another person. The beatings, the touching, the emotional abuse.” She went on to state that no one, not teachers or counselors, gave her assistance through this, so she simply thought that this was how the world and how life worked. When her father gifted her the .22 caliber rifle, she thought that he was finally telling her to do it: to take her life successfully, unlike her past suicide attempts, and leave the world forever.7

Whether these theories are true or not, Brenda Spencer was tried as an adult and pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and nine counts of assault. She was sentenced to twenty-five years to life in prison, and is still serving her sentence at the California Institute for Women. The shooting has inspired a song by the Boomtown Rats called “I Don’t Like Mondays,” and has also gained other media coverage through a documentary.8 Her action went down in history as the first high profile school shooting and has become a vanguard to many future, unimaginable school situations and violent outbreaks. Whether Spencer was a cold-hearted killer or a truly lost and confused soul that simply wanted an escape, it is undeniable that her horrible actions have had some frightening consequences in our modern world.

  1. Jonathan Fast, Ceremonial Violence (New York: The Overlook Press, 2008), 25, 70-71.
  2. Tamara Jones, “Look Back in Sorrow,” Good Housekeeping 227, no.5 (November 1998): 118.
  3. Jonathan Fast, “Unforgiven and Alone: Brenda Spencer and Secret Shame,” in School Shootings: International Research, Case Studies, And Concepts For Prevention, ed. Nils Böckler (New York: Springer, 2013), 253-255.
  4. Debra Sevey, “Subsequent Parole Consideration Hearing of Brenda Spencer,” (Capitol Electronic Reporting, 2001), 15-16.
  5. Jennifer Furio, Letters From Prison: Voices Of Women Murderers (New York: Algora Pub., 2001), 134.
  6. Jonathan Fast, ” Unforgiven and Alone: Brenda Spencer and Secret Shame,” in School Shootings: International Research, Case Studies, And Concepts For Prevention, ed. Nils Böckler (New York: Springer, 2013), 251.
  7. Jennifer Furio, Letters From Prison: Voices Of Women Murderers (New York: Algora Pub., 2001), 134-135.
  8. Encyclopedia of School Crime and Violence, September 2011, s.v. “Brenda Spencer,” by Laura L. Finley.
A Case of the Mondays: Brenda Spencer and the Cleveland Elementary School Shooting
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  • This article had to be one of my favorites, I think especially because of how interesting I find crime to be. It is so scary to imagine someone suddenly shooting at kids for their own satisfaction. I could only imagine and wonder, maybe if she wasn’t abused in any way, she would be mentally stable and she wouldn’t have wanted to shoot anyone. Maybe if she would have gotten help, the situation wouldn’t have been so bad.

  • I feel like a common theme in articles that resonate and bother us the most (that I can see from the comments) is tragedies and I feel like most of these tragedies are recent, modern tragedies within the last few decades and it saddens me because I feel like the nature of this world is getting worse and my fear is that history will repeat itself (which in a way, is already happening, because events like this have repeatedly happened). I feel like what this page has done for me is open my eyes to how we all need to do better and be better and help each other do that.

  • It’s shocking how abuse and neglect can turn somebody who might have been a good person into someone who commits violent acts as horrific as shooting at an elementary school. With the recent violence going on in today’s world as well involving shootings, it makes you think about what truly motivates people like Brenda Spencer to perform such atrocities. Is it always factors in the person’s past? Or can it be random, based on nothing else but an impulse?

  • This was a very interesting and well put together article. I had never heard of this case or of Brenda Spencer until having read this article. It really is crazy how someone could be capable of so much evil. The sad reality of today, however, is that the most innocent of people are always targeted in such crimes. It blows my mind how someone could ever think of not only hurting so many people but hurting innocent children as well who have no way of even defending themselves.

  • This is an interesting read, even when re-reading it after some weeks! I believe that Brenda was emotionally and mentally affected by her father’s abuse. This is usually the case for serial or mass most killers at least. Its sad that the children in the school had to suffer from this attack too, because they will certainly always remember it and even develop mental disorders as a result of this traumatic experience.

  • It is amazing what goes through peoples mind to be able to do such a thing. Although growing up with an abusive father did nothing but make her believe in this world of violence. It is still sad to hear about how this traumatic experience impacted her livelihood. I just makes you realize, if their was something you could of done to help her prior to this event, would it have impacted her outlook on life.

  • I have read this article for a second time and it is still very intriguing to me. The fact that someone was willing to shoot up a school “just for the fun of it” is tragic. It is a very well-written article and captures the attention of the readers incredibly well. The way that the story of the event is told really allows the readers to know what happened on this sad day. Congratulations on the nomination.

  • This is a really sad story to read. I had never head of this before until I read this article. I liked the introduction and the way you introduced the article. It is hard for me to comprehend how someone can want to make innocent children. This is article was very informing and I enjoyed reading it even though it was sad.

  • I actually enjoy reading this article! Even though it is a tragic event the story is well narrated. There are so many surprising facts of the shooting like just two people got killed and about nine injured people. Also the fact of the raping of his father can give more background on how she felt and why she did these event. Great article and keep it up with the good work!

  • I am surprised that the only people harmed in the entirety of this incident were about 10 people, although it is still saddening that 2 people died by the end. I am disappointed more in the father of the killer than in the killer herself. Although she did have to make a choice as to whether she wanted to do this, I feel that her father was the largest factor in the occurrence. Strictly because of his indecencies he reared a child full of hate and even gave her the means necessary to let out all the frustration.

  • This was a very good article. The article started off very different. The author really did an amazing job at grabbing the readers attention early off. Before reading this article, I did not have much knowledge on this murder case, but I have heard of it. It is crazy that someone would even this of performing such act. Overall, this is a very good article.

  • This is a very intense type of article; it’s incredible how from explain how Mondays are perceived it introduces a young aged killer. I really did get caught be this reading, I find very interesting article that might have physiology related to them. It’s really a mystery to pin point the motives a little girl may have for doing such a thing; but it’s even harder if she’s young cause she herself might not know the exact of why.

  • Good introductory paragraph and I see why this article was nominated for its title. It’s almost like a common joke. After reading this I thought, “well that’s one serious case of the Mondays,” and understood the title better. I also thought it was a miracle that only the principal and the janitor were killed who weren’t even running to run away but to help out the children. While it is tragic, it’s also surprising that the other students who were wounded were able to survive.

  • What a haunting story to read. You did a fantastic job of narrating this horrible event, the introduction was a clever way to begin the story. This makes me question the sanity of people and how capable we are allowing such widespread gun ownership. The scariest part of this story was when Brenda said she began shooting for “the fun of it.”

  • I have never heard about this shooting in Cleveland Elementary, so it surprised me that this happened all the way back in 1979. It was a definitely shocking event, not just to the people there, but across the whole nation since firing guns at a school was unheard of prior to this. I also found Spencer’s motive to be just as disturbing as her crime. Excellent article, job well done!

  • Interesting article. I had never heard of this event until reading your article and it was very chilling. I cannot believe that someone would shoot up a school simply because it was Monday. I can think of at least a million other things to do besides that on a Monday. I like how you presented the story though with the update about her as an adult. I think if what she says it true, it is horrible that she was so abused as a child and that no one listened to her or tried to help her. I also hope that she is getting the help she needs now. However, it is still not a good enough reason to shoot up a school.

  • This is my second time reading this article, and I am still fascinated by it. Firstly, your feature image really depicts Brenda Spencer’s personality and the cost she had to pay. Your introduction plays a pivotal role, you did a great job capturing and entertaining the reader’s attention through it. Again, this is an unbelievable and atrocious event in history. More impressively, that it was all produced by an underage girl. Overall, great job and congrats on your nomination!

  • Chilling article. I thought that this was very written and it kept me engaged the whole time. It is terrifying that someone could just wake up one day and start shooting at innocent people. I can not imagine how horrifying it was the teachers, parents, and children. I feel like Brenda should get the help she needs and it sucks that she did not get that from her family members. This was defiantly a tragic story that should question whether there should be more control of guns.

  • I have dreamed about becoming an elementary school teacher for most of my life. I could not image how it must have felt to be there in those moments, or even what would lead someone to want to do something like this to the most innocent of people. This article was informational and captivating. As sad as this topic was I could not stop reading it. Over all this was a very well written article.

  • I’m commenting again because this was without a doubt one of my favorite articles up for an award! It is such an interesting article, and I am glad you are up for an award! I really enjoyed the detail of this article, and the shocking facts kept me engaged throughout. It is an unbelievable story in U.S. history, and you told the story in such a great way. I really hope you win an award for this article, good luck!

  • Coming into this article I had no prior knowledge about this topic. It is truly horrific that anyone could do such an awful thing. I can never understand how people get to the point where they will hurt innocent people. This was a very interesting article and it flowed very nicely. Congrats on being nominated for your awards and keep up the good work!!!

  • What a tragic tale. In the wake of other mass shootings, our country has become somewhat jaded in regards to gun violence. But it is ever so sad to hear about innocent, defenseless children losing their lives so young. I think Sandy Hook showed us that these tragedies can happen at any time, but how we react is up to us. I think the history of abuse at the hands of her father is an interesting a attribute, as it may explain how someone could commit such an atrocity. Great read.

  • This is another crime that I’m surprised I have never heard of; especially in light of recent tragic events and debate in America right now. This is a great look inside a very young mass shooter and almost makes you sympathize with her. Its heartbreaking and angering that a father could do that to his daughter, but I don’t think it excuses what she did. Although it gives her a motive and a little more understanding into why she did it, I still have to say it was wrong and evil even if it feels like I should feel more sorry for her.

  • An extremely well written and put together article. This would be the second time reading this article and the story is just as shocking as the first. I can’t imagine looking down the nose of a gun pointed at defenseless children and waiting to pull the trigger. Even if her story of abuse from her father was true, which should be looked into so the father can be brought to justice, it was still Brenda that did the shooting.

  • I was really surprised after reading this because it’s so sad to think about how evil people can be. I feel so bad for the families that had to deal with the loss of their loved ones. I never knew about this incident or even heard of it, but the article did a great job on giving specific and vivid details all about the incident.

  • It’s crazy to think that others have thought’s like the ones Brenda did. She didn’t like Monday’s so she shot up an elementary school? Doesn’t make any sense to me. Even if she did have a troubled past, that doesn’t give you the right to do something this awful. I couldn’t imagine what the students and faculty went through and what the families who lost someone went through as well.

  • Horrible tragedies such as these always make for an interesting read. The tone of dread and sadness that are usually found make for great atmosphere when it comes to story telling. Its awful to think that the person responsible for death and woe could make light of such a situation. I suppose some people have no sense of morality and empathy.

  • It truly is heartbreaking to know how a person could ever be so cruel and heartless. Shooting at an elementary school surrounded by many young lives is something that no person in their right mind would even think of doing. Overall, this was a very well written article. It was interesting yet heartbreaking to learn about some of the very first incidents pertaining to violence that could have been the outcome that led to the actions of individuals in the modern world.

  • It is shocking to know that Brenda Spencer shot up an elementary school “just for the fun of it”. To know that someone took the lives of other because she was not happy that day is so disturbing. It is unfortunate that two people lost their lives. It is crazy to know that she turned herself in and actually told the interviewer everything he wanted to hear.

  • Thank you for this article! I didn’t know anything about the case of Brenda Spencer before reading this article, and it was extremely informative. I find it crazy how someone, especially that young can do such a terrible thing. Her story is awful; I can’t imagine the horror that happened because of her. Even if she says her father abused her, it doesn’t excuse her actions.

  • I thought that this article was very interesting. I had seen the mugshot of spencer before however, I had never cared to learn who she was or the story behind it. I believe that she was in fact a cold hearted murderer instead of a confused teenager. I can see how this set the stage for all of the other awful school shootings that have happened over the years. This was truly a fascinating article and very well written.

  • This was a well written article, and a very interesting and relevant topic. It is very saddening that people are capable of these types of things. To be able to take someone else’s life just for the fun of it is sickening. It is hard especially when it is a school full of young children, they usually are so innocent that they have no idea what violence is and for someone to expose them to the idea so early had to have been traumatizing.

  • Cool article, it’s really interesting, the things people do that make them a whole lot different from others. Psychopathic tendencies are tendencies that create an emotionless monotone person who knows how to act, so I apologize now for thinking that this woman did it for fun and didn’t actually have anything wrong with her. But yeah very interesting article, although very sad that this inspired many more school shootings.

  • Very intrigued by article but at the same time horrified. Did not have heard nothing before of this shooting back at 1979. It is very impactful what teenagers have done in the last years in school shootings. The only doubt I remain with is why she did it? I think the answer to question would always remained into a mystery. Great article!

  • Great introduction! Your article is incredibly detailed and left me well informed about an event I had no previous knowledge about. It’s sad to see how so many unnecessary death’s occurred over a teenager’s decision to pull the trigger and even worse to realize this is still an ongoing problem in America. Similar the recent shooting in Las Vegas, there was no real reason for so many people to die. Although she seemed to have a harsh upbringing, her acts are unforgivable.

  • Great use of images, and your introduction was pretty great. Honestly i had no idea what this article was going to be about, but that is how catchy it was. With all the current news about the attack in las vegas, this article was really eye opening. Its crazy what other people will do. To shoot people just because you hate Mondays. That is just horrendous.

  • you never know what people are going thought behind closed doors. she was sexually abused by her father and she thought her only way out was to kill herself. she needed a healthy way to take the pain away and shooting at an elementary school was most definitely not the way to do it. I’m from southern California and i have never heard of this shooting and its quite shocking to read about.

  • This is such a sad story. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for the people at Grover Cleveland Elementary School that morning. I was going to comment on how maybe people alive during the 1970s would be more shocked than we are at school shootings- but then I looked up the history of school shootings. I found that school shootings have occurred in the US since the 19th century. This was shocking to me.

  • I can’t imagine how terrifying it was for the children in Grover Cleveland Elementary to know someone was shooting their school, and knowing they could be shot. Must have been a traumatizing experience for them. I think Brenda’s claims that she was abused by her father are true, because I can’t imagine a child wanting to shoot people just for fun. She must have had some terrible experiences that affected her emotionally and led her to shoot the school.

  • Nobody likes Mondays as is, but after this tragedy it’s easy to assume Mondays turned into a horrifying memory for the victims of this shooting. It’s such a shame what happens to some teenagers as they grow up. People need to understand that adolescent years are some of the most influential to a person and what happens during those years is what shapes a person. I feel bad for what happened to this teenage girl but I don’t think it can be totally unforgiven for what she did to this elementary school.

  • As much as I was intrigued reading this article, it was also sad to here about. I had heard about other school shootings, but was unaware of the 1979 school shooting at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California. It’s sad to hear that these kids thought it was another typical day at school, but that someone else had a plan for them.

  • I have to admit that the entire article I was waiting to read the authors opinion on why the shooter did what she did. Did the shooters actions happen as a result of pschological impacts or pure innate evil? To my avail the author does a great job just presenting the information as an unbiased source but explaining it in depth to help the reader understand a horrible moment in history.

  • I’m not sure whether I should be disgusted by this girl or empathetic towards her. I can’t believe she was pushed to the point where she ended up shooting so many innocent people. I hope she got the help she needs now that she is away from those that hurt her. Overall this was a very interesting article that offered a different perspective on the criminal. It shows that not every criminal is a cold blooded killer, but a troubled person who was pushed too far in her life.

  • This article took me by surprise starting from the title. I thought, what do Monday’s have to do with a shooter in an Elementary school? Little would I have thought that in fact the shooter suffered of problems and abuse as child by her father. To me this made sense, but to think on what she did and how much abuse can affect you physiological state to the point where you think about hurting others and your self. This catastrophe serves as an example of the many problems that surround or world in this case not only were the victims the victims but the shooter herself but from something else.

  • Very interesting article! The details you provided, including the images that you chose kept me engaged throughout the entire article. I liked how you discussed the issues Spencer dealt with as a child and how it influenced these psychotic acts. School shootings are sickening to me, and I do not understand the satisfaction of endangering the lives of children. Only a true psychopath would commit these crimes towards children because they simply “hate Mondays”.

  • Great article but what a horrible incident. I get it that everyone hates Mondays but for someone to do something like that is completely insane. If she truly wanted to do something to cheer herself up she could go play with a dog instead killing innocent people. No one deserves to go through that especially children because those kids will remember this forever. I understand that if you have physical and emotional experiences that it makes you do crazy things but there are people to go to for help if you really want it. I feel so sorry for her if her father did all those things to her and she didn’t deserve it but to put those kids through that kind of trauma isn’t going to fix things for her. It’s sad that people have to go through extreme measures just to have people listen to what they need.

  • This was a very interesting and well written article. I really liked how you not only describe the details of the events but also bring attention to the psychological problems Brenda Spencer faced as a child and how it influenced her motives. Events like these are so saddening but, I’m glad that they bring awareness
    to tragic events that could happen anytime and anywhere, and make us think of possible ways to prevent these type of events.

  • It was such a grabbing image to begin with before reading. To see such a young girl in cuffs really had me wanting to read to find out what happened. The first paragraph was so capturing by detailing what kind of mood comes form Mondays. It was so sad to see such tragedy at a school. But it was written with such detail that it felt like I I was there the moment it occured.

  • I had never heard of this, and I found it really interesting to read about. It’s such a horrible act of evil. It’s so sad to think of all the scared children and how they will always remember this day. Whether it was due to the years of abuse from her parents, or as stated that she did this just to have “fun”, is unbelievably sad. What kind of person can wake up and just want to do these kinds of things to another human being? It’s truly disgusting, and sad.

  • I believe this quote sums up the reality of the world “Some people just want to watch the world burn”. There are people that are capable of monstrous acts and their reasoning is not more than I felt like it. The fact that someone this young could have the malicious intent to harm small children is truly sicking. This just shows that as people we need to be more wary of not only our surroundings but the people around us. The article however, was very informative. The article did well to inform me of a subject I knew nothing about.

  • Evelin Joseph writes an interesting and captivating article. She captures my attention with her introduction. She introduces various theories that justify the shooter yet she stays objective. A brilliant move, because she is able to present a story arc that develops into an intriguing possible response to the tragedy however the event is still a mystery. She provides readers with a structure and interesting article.

  • I never knew about this, and I’m glad I read it because her “motive” is great, as in funny, rather I still feel this is quite a sad event. I also liked how you made the article more about the abuse this woman sustained during her preadolescence and during her teenage years. Often, people just write off and ignore anyone who has committed a heinous crime, and often it’s not really fair because, like this case, there is something deeper than just “I felt like doing it,” or “I hate Mondays.”

  • Very well written and interesting article. I have never heard about this case but it’s sad to see how school shootings have become very common in today’s society. This was a truly tragic story. It was a normal Monday for the kids and faculty in the school and didn’t realize it would be their last days.

  • What an awful thing to do to innocent children just going to school. You were very descriptive in what happened and going into the mindset of Brenda Ann Spencer, the tragedy could have been a greater loss of life had it not been for that reporter that called and distracted her long enough to be found. This was a chilling and interesting article.

  • I see Monday just as another day in the week, I don’t stress the beginning of the week. Brenda has gone too far just because she didn’t like Mondays in her first claim that she did the shooting just for fun. Its awful that people had to lose their lives so young and adults as well, I don’t believe that her claims about abuse provoked that event, but I believe that it did happen.

  • This is really well written article about a really sad story. It is amazing to me how someone could just open fire at an elementary school, and feel little to no remorse about it after. I truly feel sorry for Spencer, that she couldn’t find a healthy way to express what she was feeling, or deal with everything that had happened to her in her life. I’m a strong believer that no matter what happens in our lives, we can choose to overcome it.

  • Reading this article, unfortunately, brought back many of the tragic shootings (especially in schools) that have taken place since the Cleveland Elementary shooting of January 1979. The article itself was strongly written and was clear in thoroughly explaining the topic, which sadly, did not entirely phase me due to all the horrific and violent incidents that have occurred in the U.S. since Brenda Spencer’s killing spree. Spencer saying that she hated Mondays and wanted a way to cheer up the day is truly terrifying in the sense that it was such a simple motive behind such a complex situation. It is absolutely sick to hear of incidents like this occurring, and to come from fellow human beings, you just have to wonder what exactly corrupts people to take actions like these and think it will solve all their problems and essentially save them.

  • Although this is a very sad and somewhat disturbing story it was a very interesting article. She really did not have a pinpointed reason for shooting at this elementary school at first besides it being Monday so she wanted to brighten up her day. This is one of the first clues to show there was something seriously wrong with this girl. She saw getting the rifle as a way to finally end this horrible life that she felt she was living. No child or any person in general should feel the need to end her life, this was her escape and way of getting out of the nightmare she was possibly living. It is so sad that this was her only method of getting out. Overall I enjoyed reading this article.

  • This article was a very interesting read, despite the horrific topic it was written about. What I enjoyed most about the articles structure is that while the writer stated facts about the event, she also showed a psychological point of view by giving some background into her childhood. I don’t believe anyone will ever understand what goes through people’s minds when they do heartless acts such as this one. It is unfortunate that impulsive shootings are so common nowadays.

  • An extremely well written and put together article. Its generally a scary thought of how someone can snap and do something crazy. Being able to look down a gun pointed at young children, then taking shots. It still can’t wrap my head around someone being able to do that especially at the age of 16. Regardless of what Brenda Spencer went through, if it turned out to be true, she was pushed over the edge and took others with her.

  • This is a very well written article. I have actually never heard this story before, but it is truly tragic and is in many ways strange. What makes a person wake up and decide to do something like this, no matter what is going on in your life. I truly feel sorry for Spencer, in the sense that she could not think of a better way to express what she was feeling, and deal with everything that had happened to her in her life.

  • Very interesting article, it is horrible to hear about school shootings where innocent people, mostly children, were injured or lost their lives. Shooting like this done by Brenda Spencer still happen today and it is heart breaking. I find it interesting how she tried to us her personal life and the fact that she did not like Mondays as an excuse for the unspeakable acts she committed. Overall great article and informative over a shooting I had never heard of before.

  • This article has really been very interesting for me, much more because of the context of Las Vegas Mass Shooting this week. There is something that, as a foreigner, has always intrigued me: Why does the United States present so many cases of mass shootings? I come from Peru, and in my country there is, as in every Latin American country, a lot of crime, kidnappings, hijackings, drug trafficking, etc … But never in the history of my country have there been shootings like this one, neither in other Latin country. The United States presents 33% of all mass shootings in the world. Undoubtedly this is something that should be reviewed, studied and solved. What causes Americans to attack their own fellow citizens? Is the easy availability of fire weapons in this country a cause? Or is there a promoting violence factor in American culture? There are many questions and few answers. One thing that is certain is that the United States must urgently implement dementia identification policies to prevent tragedies, such as the Cleveland Elementary School Shooting, happen.

  • The title of the article was very well thought out; it really caught my attention because I wanted to know more about what you meant by “The Case of the Mondays”. It was a very put together article because it gives such descriptive and horrific insight to the incident of an evil young woman and everything she took part in. It is sad to think that some children were evil because they’re suppose to be seen as innocent and uplifting.

  • Aside from being beautifully written, this article truly brings to light how important it is to monitor mental health and be aware of warning signs that people give when they are being hurt or abused at home. Rather than this being a model for future school killings, it should have been a lesson for school staffs to take the initiative of helping students in need.

  • What a terrifying story! I had never heard of this school shooting before this news article. I had no idea that the first school shooting occurred in the 70s. Nowadays a school shooting is not something new to us, as sad as that is. That doesn’t make it any less tragic nor frightening. Brenda Spencer was so young when she committed this crime, a mere 16 years old! I can never comprehend how anyone could do such harm to their fellow human beings. Great news article!

  • The article was very informative as well as disturbing in terms of the nature in which the shooter acted. To target such a soft spot is troubling to even think about. Think about it, she targeted an Elementary school. These children were literally “babies” in the world. If it’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s people harming children. I could only wonder what these young children went through. Before reading this article I had no idea such an event had taken place.

  • Although I had some brief knowledge about the Grover Cleveland Elementary shooting, I did not know much about it nor who the shooter was. It’s sad to think that someone so young as Spencer was can be abused so much to push her into doing something so wrong, if what she says about her abuse is true. What is even more sad is that there are probably many more people like her that go through what she went through every day as well. This article was overall very informative and I definitely learned something new from it.

  • What a totally awful event in which innocent civillians and even children were targeted. I truly don’t understand what must make a person so evil to do such a thing and then to justify their actions by saying “I just don’t like Mondays”. The victims and families of the victims will be scarred for ever and will always remember this truly horrific day. Great article

  • First and foremost, AWESOME introduction, I was instantly hooked. Thanks to your great use of evidence, that day was clearly illustrated to the tee. This is indeed a surreal event, how could a kid just kill people “because it’s a way to cheer up the day”. However, it is obvious that she committed such act because of the damage temporal lobe, because no one in their sane mind would kill just because of it. Overall, great job!

  • I got the chills reading this. Sadly, events like these seem to be common nowadays. Look at what just happened in Las Vegas. Things like this happen far too often. It is sad that in today’s world it is necessary for schools and other public places to be equipped with plans in case of emergencies such as shootings, attacks, etc. because they are so common. Before I read this, I had never heard of this shooting. I always thought events like these were a more recent matter, so it is crazy for me to see that the way the world is now has been building up for decades now. Summing things up, I found this article tragic, yet very interesting. It taught me something new.

  • This was a very informative and disturbing story. I refuse to believe that anyone of normal mental health would ever do something such as this and be remorseless about it. If Brenda Spencer’s mental condition was indeed gained over time by domestic abuse from her mother, the even bigger tragedy is that a parent would damage a youth this much.

  • A very interesting article to read. I don’t know how someone can actually be pushed to their limits to do such a thing. She must have had nothing going for her in her life or something to not care about where her future was going to end up. Crazy to know that this was the girl responsible for the catastrophic first school shooting.

  • The title of the article was well thought out. Before reading this article I had no knowledge of the events. The article was well-written and explained the events that transpired in a coherent narrative. You were able to explain the events in great detail, but also made it clear the mysteries motivations the shooter may have had. The whole situation is a terrible and unfortunate.

  • I had no idea where or when the first high profile school shooting occurred so this article was very informative. I liked your take on the story and how you left it open for the reader to conclude what they want about Brenda Spencer. The story was extremely depressing and it is sad that events such as this have become part of history and what we educate students about.

  • This article was well descriptive and shocking. The information about Brenda Spencer’s background really fuels why she released her .22 caliber. It is a depressing story to hear about innocent lives being threatened by a 16 year old girl, just because she did not like Monday’s. This article was well put with an abundance of information.

  • This is such a sad article but it also makes me angry. I appreciate that you wrote it because more knowledge needs to be brought to how many tragic shootings have taken place. But this was in the 1970’s, and it is now 2017. This really shows this country’s neglect and ignorance about gun restrictions and gun control. Before one incident alone could take place, more precautions should have been in place to make getting a gun hard for anybody in this country. It is disgusting that thousands upon thousands have lost their lives to guns because of this country’s leaders neglecting to make change to protect us. Thank you for bringing attention to the harsh reality this country faced and is unfortunately still facing.

  • This was a well written article. It is awful that this happened to those kids and that community. Despite her initial claim that she did what she did because it was a Monday, I believe her childhood and the way she had been treated played a big role in why she did it. It is crazy to think that this was the first high profile school shooting and in today’s time these occurrences are becoming more and more common. It is sad that kids, or anyone for that matter, have to go through events like these. Sometimes people are just at the wrong place at the wrong time.

  • Brenda Ann Spence: The sixteen-year-old who changed the way for mass shooters. It is almost impossible for me to comprehend how a person so young want and choose to hurt so many for the “fun” of it. The story of Brenda makes me ponder on her situation, was her relentless abuse and powerlessness turned her into a psychopath cold-hearted killer, Or was she just seeking the ultimate freedom like it is suggested in the article? Either way, I find it outrageous how a parent can abuse someone to the point of their breakdown, and how the actions of parents can truly affect a child’s life. This was a heartbreaking story, however, well put and well written.

  • I had never heard of this mass shooting and to learn that a 16 year old was the one to do it is what shocked me the most. What is also surprising was her motive to even start the shooting. I mean most people don’t like Mondays, but to shoot others because of it is crazy! Overall, I really enjoyed the article, mainly because it does not leave me questioning things about the event. It was a well written and thought out article.

  • This was a well written article. The title was what caught my attention. I hate Mondays and wondered what it meant by a case of the Mondays. I have never heard off this shooting. How a person could do such a thing is beyond me. I wonder where she got the gun. The article says her father gave it too her, but where did he get it? Was gun control that bad in 1979?

  • You never want to think of a child as being evil. We equate children with innocence, light and love. I ask myself what could have happened to a child to drive them to commit such atrocious acts. You did a fantastic job of addressing that question. We don’t have definitive proof of her motive but she obviously faced a difficult childhood filled with physical and mental abuse. Until we are in that position it is hard to say we wouldn’t react the same way.

  • There have been countless mass shootings in the United States, but I was never aware of The Cleveland Elementary School Shooting in the year 1979 in San Diego, California. Your article was fascinating and informative. Currently, we are just getting over the massacre in Las Vegas, and it is so sad that we cover the same things over and over again. Thoughts and prayers will not save lives, and I think it is crucial that we do something to limit these mass shootings. Overall, excellent article it flowed well and made sense.

  • This article is well put together and provides great insight about a horrific incident that an evil/ immoral young woman took part in. I will never understand how some people can inflict pain and have intentions in harming innocent children. It is very saddening that children are forced to experience such tragic events. Overall, I enjoyed how this article informed me on an incident that I had no clue that occurred.

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