Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Friday, December 28, 2012

S.F. Student Writes "Dark" Poem About Newtown School Shooting, Gets Suspended

Posted By on Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Courtni reads her poem - VIA ABC7
  • via ABC7
  • Courtni reads her poem

Update 2:27 p.m.: Heidi Anderson, spokeswoman with San Francisco Unified School District, told us that Life Learning Academy is a charter school, and therefore SFUSD is not involved in its student discipline.

Original Story 12:10 p.m.: A high school senior is facing expulsion after writing a poem that raised some red flags for local school officials.

ABC7 reports that Courtni Webb was suspended for the "dark" prose she penned less than two weeks after 20 students and six school officials were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Specifically, Life Learning Academy officials on Treasure Island in San Francisco were a bit alarmed by this line in Webb's poem:

I understand the killings in Connecticut. I know why he pulled the trigger. Why are we oppressed by a dysfunctional community of haters and blamers?

School officials are considering expelling her, although Webb told ABC7 that her poem was nothing more than a commentary on society. In fact, she says she often writes poems -- and turns them in to her teachers - that talk about suicide and sadness.

"The meaning of the poem is just talking about society and how I understand why things like that incident happened. So it's not like I'm agreeing with it, but that's how the school made it seem," Webb told the news outlet.

SF Weekly contacted the school district for comment, we'll let you know if we hear back.

The poem wasn't a class assignment; rather, a teacher discovered it in class and didn't hesitate to report it to the school principal.

Webb likened herself to Stephen King, saying the macabre novelist writes "weird stuff all the time" but that doesn't mean he's going to do it or act it out, she said.

But after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., schools like Life Learning Academy aren't taking its chances. The academy has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to the threat of violence. A "violation of any one of these rules can result in dismissal from school."

The girl's mother, Valerie Statham, said that she felt the school was overreacting, especially since her daughter has no history of violent behavior. "She didn't threaten anybody. She didn't threaten herself. She simply said she understood why."

Statham is expecting to hear from the district when school resumes on Jan. 7.

  • Pin It

About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"