Educators Who Taught Future Murders Reveal What They Were Like Before Their Crimes
It's the gamble educators take. You never know what your students are going to be like until the day they walk through your door. Maybe they'll be beautiful angels. interested in every topic and engaged in every lesson. Perhaps they'll be nightmare children from beyond, haunting your every dream like a leech of disciplinary actions. Teachers and child-care providers can only take these children as they come, but what they can't predict is what happens after those students walk away. Sometimes, even the brightest students can fall to the darkest desires when real life happens. Reddit user, r/FoxMulderOrwell, wanted to know when they asked (Trigger Warning ahead):
[Serious]Teachers who have taught future murderers and major criminals, what were they like when they were under your tutelage?
One of my former students murdered two people, apparently on a drug deal gone wrong. He is now serving life in prison.
I had him in first grade. Sweet kid, highly intelligent. Seriously, he was reading on a third grade level...despite the fact that he came in late every day. Not just ten or fifteen minutes late, usually he would come in around 10:00. Dad was not in the picture (in prison for gang activity) and Mom was unconcerned about his education. I tried everything I could to impress on her just how intelligent her son was and how he had a very bright future but that he needed to be in school. She honestly didn't seem to care. He later dropped out when he was in high school, joined a gang, and things snowballed.
Such a goddamned waste.
When They Were Just Class Clowns
Ive taught four students who have been involved with murders. 3 killed one guy together and the fourth shot a person at a hotel party and killed them.
I worked at an alternative school so they had behavioral issues. Only one of them struggled academically. They were all class clowns. The one thing that sticks out is that all of them struggled to fit in. They felt like they had something to prove. The three kids came in the day after they committed the murder. You could tell something was off. They left early and later we heard what happened. The whole situation is still really clear in my mind, f_*_ed up stuff.
When It Starts Small And Becomes Something Worse
When I first started working as the English teacher at a public elementary school in Tokyo, one of the teachers was telling me about how the class's pet dwarf hamster Totoro had gotten out of his cage and accidentally been stepped on. He was a little guy, so it wasn't exactly a bloody scene, but nobody knew who did it, and all the kids were sad.
A few weeks later, one of the other class's pet guinea pig "got out" of his cage and was stepped on as well. Like, stomped flat. Very messy - and someone had clearly used some tissues to clean off their shoes before leaving the room. All of the students wear the same kind of in-school slippers, so it's not like we could go CSI on the situation and figure it out by shoe print, but one of the other teachers noticed that one girl in her class, a fifth grader, had some suspicious reddish smears on the edges of one of her shoes. The girl was called to the office, and parents were called.
The next day, the parents come in, and explain to the principal that they're moving their daughter to a new school. Basically, "she's not your problem anymore, so don't bother trying to call in child counselors or anything." So rather than make a big deal out of it all (which would have been a headache for everyone) the school let it all slide, because the girl was gone.
A few years later, there was a local news story about a Jr. High girl who'd assaulted another student. It sounded like she pushed the other girl down some stairs and then kicked her. They didn't publish names (because she's a minor), but word traveled down the grapevine pretty quickly that it was our former student. I'm not sure what happened to her after that.
Taught a boy who was involved in a gang murder. Wasn't the one who did the actual murdering, but was part of the plan and found guilty under group enterprise.
He was a strange, strange boy. Highly disruptive throughout school, very weak academically, and one who always gravitated towards trouble.
When Time Stings
So, I've taught a couple attempted murderers and quite a few major drug dealers, as well as students that would become accessories to murder (stuff like selling the eventual murderer a stolen firearm), so this isn't going to be super specific to one kid, but here goes:
The ones that truly gangbang hard tend to be the sweetest ones. They'll come up to me and ask how my spring break was, and answer questions in class, and defend me if students give me a hard time. Those ones are usually in too deep because the older heads tell them not to f**k around at school and get as many positive character witnesses as possible when they end up getting caught up. The ones that just joined a gang of their friends and go around selling a little bit of weed act a fool in class, because there's no authority structure telling them the gang doesn't need that kind of negative attention.
I've had heroin dealers in class, and the three or four of them were so kind, but trying to find the human inside them is so hard because of the drug abuse... it's like that episode of Black Mirror with the tiny person living inside their head. You want nothing more than to see them snap out of it, and sometimes they do: we had one of our most serious junkies graduate in December!
The ones who get to me the most are the ones that identify with me and then go out and do horrible things. I'm a younger dude that worked in the music industry so I have a lot of kids that just inherently think I'm cool despite tons of evidence to the contrary, so I'll know a kid for 3 years and love them to pieces and then see them in the paper for aggravated sexual assault. Those ones sting the most.
Sometimes, There's No Surprise
Had an 8th grader who was a jerk. Wouldn't listen, constantly disrupted the class, and put in little to no effort. Was a bully to the other students. Unfortunetly, our admin at the time was a push over so nothing ever happened when we would refer him or anyone else (one day he came back from the office and I overheard him telling a classmate when asked what happened that the principal "gave him some candy ane sent him back to class."
Cut to 6 years later, see his face on the news being arrested for a gang murder. Not the least bit surprised.
Not Allowed Pencils
I volunteered a couple of times at an alternative school. One of my pastors was the principal there, so our church youth group would help out from time to time.
I was in a fourth grade classroom and was tasked with helping a boy learn to read. It was basic stuff, cat, dog, ran, etc. He had a task to spell cat and dog, and couldn't or wouldn't try to see the difference. He said he'd never need to know how to read, so why should he? I told him I'd draw some pictures of what the words were next to the words so he could try to memorize them. He said something along the lines of, "If you try to make me do this I'll slit your throat" Note, I am/was a 275 pound dude.
I told the teacher, who told me not to worry, that they check him daily to make sure he's not carrying a knife since he's had a few incidents. Not sure what happened to that kid, nothing good. She'd also previously told me he wasn't allowed pencils or pens and was only allowed to write with crayons due to his violent outbursts. If he's still alive he'd be around 25 now.
When They Get Inside Your Heart
I teach at a community college where we have a program that allows high school students to take college level courses. One semester, I had a group of promising high schoolers in a 3D modeling class, and one student blew me away right from the start. Less than a week in, he had made this model of Claptrap from the Borderlands game series that was so detailed and perfect that it looked like it was ripped right from the game's assets (though it wasn't; I checked). I could tell right away that this kid was going places.
Well, the next week he wasn't in class. After missing a certain number of days, I'm obligated to call his school to let him know he's at risk of being dropped. Well, it turns out he was in jail. This student was apparently running a Twitter account where he publicly solicited and bribed people for child pornography, with some of the kids being as young as 1 year old.
Things Like Pizza Delivery Go Bad
I taught at an alternative school for a year. I have several students who later ended up in jail for everything from robbery to murder. Most of them weren't surprising...these were kids who clearly had no family structure or discipline at home. And almost all of them were affiliated with gangs somehow. We even had middle school kids jumped into gangs at the school. But alternative schools get almost no support from anyone but the police. It's basically a step away from jail.
The one who committed murder killed a pizza delivery driver over a drug deal. He was actually somewhat surprising because he was far from the worst kid I dealt with. He was a skinny, nerdy looking kid with braces, but he was hanging out with all the hard gang members too. I dunno, maybe he felt like he had to prove himself.
Nothing Out Of The Ordinary
When I was a student teacher I taught the younger of the Boston Bomber brothers.
To be honest I barely remember him. When the news broke I had to go back and check old spreadsheets in my laptop to make sure it was actually him.
He was only a freshman at the time. I would say he was a little quiet but nothing out of the ordinary.
Prom Night Turned Terrible
While I was a student teacher, I taught a young man who planned a school shooting for the night of his prom. He had weapons and apparently fully intended to harm his classmates, but was arrested after he made some alarming comments. He seemed like a nice kid, but very strange and withdrawn. He used to try to make jokes and witty comments, but was just awkward and got shut down a lot. Honestly, he was exactly what you imagine a kid who has been bullied but still tries to make friends would be like. I suspect he was on the spectrum as well, but never diagnosed.
I feel bad for him despite the terrible things he planned to do. His classmates ended up raising a sizable amount of money and donating it to mental health charities, and they did eventually have their prom just before the end of the school year. The student served about six months in prison jail and was given a few years of probation.
Already On The Wrong Path
I am a teacher now, however I wasn't a teacher when this happened. I was working at a juvenile detention center, which they were saying was a "treatment" center. We were not a facility that held major offenders.
One kid was in there for getting caught with some marijuana. He was in for like 3-6 months, which was harsh for a first time offender, but the judge was notorious for this kind of thing. We had kids from that area who were sent to us after skipping school a few times.
He was really mellow. Liked to play card games and was very mature. When the younger kids would be starting fights or bickering, he would always distance himself and just sort of remove himself from everything.
A year after he left us, he was caught trafficking serious amounts of narcotics. He was sentenced to something like 20 years for that and the various offenses which led up to him getting caught.
Manipulating From A Young Age
Grade 6. A small boy who talked tough and ran a mini gang of bigger boys. Poor student; the only thing he did well was athletics (amazing runner) but wasn't allowed on the teams because his marks were so bad.
His mother looked about my age and I was an undergraduate student teacher. I got that through word-of-mouth: I never met her because she'd cancel at the last minute any parent-teacher meetings. There were a lot of requests for these meetings. No father figure in his life. Free range kid in the worst sense; couldn't respect anyone more than two years older than him unless they were black or willing to throw down with him right there.
He knew how to manipulate people. He definitely manipulated me. About 10 years later I found out in the news he dropped out of high school to do gang things, and was part of an interview/study on rehabilitating kids like him. I don't buy any of it because it's the same stuff he told me. Also in the news article was that he shot some people in a condo and was later killed in a police shootout.
Straight From Desks To Prison Bars
I've taught some kids who turned out pretty rotten and you could usually tell by their conduct during high school. However, one that sticks was these two LOVELY siblings. Great students; polite, well-mannered and tried hard academically. Both graduated.
Turns out that in their final years, they joined their father in distributing crystal meth. Straight from high school to prison.
Going Into The Family Business
Oh. The last one from this one school site. I worked there for 8 years and really loved it. It shaped me as a teacher and I got to work with thousands of amazing kids.
This one kid's dad was in a bike gang. I worked with him for a year as a sophomore. He hated school, the system didn't work for him and even though he acted out a lot and spent a lot of time suspended and expelled for smoking, drugs and kicking off, we maintained a respectful relationship. He barely completed any work the year, but I was just glad he came to classes. I didn't teach him again, but he always stopped for a chat and a bit of banter. He was adamant he didn't want to follow in his Dad's footsteps and started a construction course where he really excelled. He had found something he was naturally talented at.
A few years after he had left school he ended up working for his Dad - both the actual business front and the drugs, weapons and rivalry part. He was stabbed to death in a drug deal gone bad. I didn't go to his funeral as I hadn't seen him for a few years, but I expressed my condolences to his his family and friends. He was 19.
We had discussed the fact that he may end up in jail if he went into the family business - I never thought he wouldn't make it to his 20th birthday.
There For A Day, Memories For A Lifetime
I was a substitute teacher for a couple years. About two years after I stopped, one of the kids I had went to prison for two counts of attempted murder. The kid was an a**hole and by far the worst kid I had to deal with but nothing that stood out to me as murderer. He was expelled for hitting a girl but that was after I left so I don't know much about it.
Surprising, But Also Not
I taught a student 6 years ago who recently committed a heinous double murder with 2 accomplices. Home invasion, tortured the middle aged married couple, and came back all weekend undiscovered to loot their home (with the bodies in the house). Police have clear surveillance video. He had apparently just been released from jail too. He was very sheepish about his poor grades and not smart at all. I would go as far to say one of the most illiterate kids I encountered. But he was always polite and respectful...not a trouble maker. He played on the basketball team. Pretty clearly had no support from home.
When I saw his mugshot on tv, I screamed. Surprising but also not I suppose.
Teaching Victim And Murderer
As a substitute teacher I subbed several classes with a student who would later be responsible for murder. He was certainly an obnoxious character. Loud and disruptive.
I remember subbing him in P.E. He was being overtly aggressive in a game of indoor soccer and other students seemed to avoid him. I'm guilty of being slightly happy when he fell and injured his knee. Later I asked him how his knee was and he seemed caught of guard that I even remembered. I subbed the kid he murdered too. He was also a disruptive kid. I actually remember making him sit in the hall because he couldn't stop talking during a test but other than that he seemed like a nice kid. I even spent some time talking to him. I guess there was some kind of dispute over drugs. The guy beat the other kid to death. I'm not even sure he meant to murder him. He ended up burying him out in the desert and his body was quickly discovered in a shallow grave. Now he's got a life term.
From high school to prison.
All Communications Lost
One of my former students apparently was involved with selling the drugs that caused an overdose to a musician on a tour stop. Musician died.
I found out by seeing the sceenshots of her admission posted in a large social media group I didnt know we were both part of....
The internet age, right? She was a typical kid with an emo streak, it broke my heart to see this go down because she scrubbed all traces of herself from the internet, havent been able to reach out to her since
Just Trying To Enjoy Michael Scott
I am late to the party but I have a very serious answer here. I had a group of students that I was very close to. They were all in a gang, what they called the Fo-Deuce (4-2) gang. It was a local member of the Crips. Two of them in particular I took particular interest in, having them in my home for dinner once a week, tutoring them every day after school for all subjects. I picked them up for school and dropped them off every day. I got them both jobs and drove them to work. They had pretty violent backgrounds, but I trusted them. They were like my own children before I had my own, actual children.
Unfortunately, things started going downhill with the older one. He stole from my wife a lot of valuables, then refused to acknowledge he had done anything wrong since he said he needed it more than we did since his lights were off. I put up a pretty strong boundary with him after that and he stopped coming around as much, and started walking to school again, which means he didn't come very often.
The other student, X, had a horrible home. No parents, grandma couldn't really take care of him, siblings in jail or on drugs, etc. I offered to let him live with us for a few months for some reason that I can't remember now. It sounds stupid, but that actually worked out. He never took from us. He was always grateful. His grades went up a bit. He even got jumped out of his gang after I asked him to. It really was a nice beginning.
About 4 to 6 months into him living with us, we were watching The Office, and he was laughing really hard at some joke, when all of a sudden, he stopped laughing, got this real somber look, then got up, went to his room, and wouldn't talk to us. He got up the next morning and told us he wanted to move out. At first he wouldn't tell me why. After a while of pressing him, he said he felt guilty enjoying life while his sister had to live in back with his grandma. He felt he was ready to take care of her, and no amount of me trying to convince him he had to take care of himself first would dissuade him, so he moved out the following week. After he graduated the next year, I changed schools and slowly lost contact with him. He got fired from his job for no-call, no-showing three times in a month. I got him another job but the same thing happened. Finally we lost touch. This was about 7 years ago or so.
About 7 months ago I get an e-mail from a lawyer. He tells me that his client asked him to get in contact with me. It's X. He had been convicted of murder. There is a news article on it, but I don't think I should post it, even though it's public record and all, but he basically walked into a room, shot a guy he had no beef with for no discernible reason to anyone, then walked out without robbing him.
More Than One Problem
I taught three students that together went on to commit at least one at least locally high-profile murder, and probably others, and will likely die in prison as a result of them.
Two of them are brothers, Adam and Brian.
It became apparent pretty early on that their house had drug issues, and there was some serious neglect going on. Physical abuse, too, from little things the boys let slip. They rarely had lunches, never had winter coats, and their shoes regularly were being glued or duct taped together. They'd talk about fights at their house, drug use, drunk parents, all sorts of things. We reported everything the entire year they were in my classroom, trying to get some intervention (they were actually from a fairly large family, six or seven kids) but it never turned in to anything. As students, they were entitled and did things like cutting in lines, or taking someone else's candy, and rowdy, but not entirely stupid. I think the total lack of discipline at home, never having consequences for not doing homework, was a huge contributing factor to how they ended up.
Adam was not the brightest bulb. He was a follower, for sure, and a little bit of a bully. He'd posture to show off, but if you pressed him, he'd back down. Never had problems with him in the classroom, after the first week, just in the halls, or recess, or at the bus stops. Acted tough, but at least when I knew him, it was a fairly unconvincing act.
Brian was always kind, when neither of the other two co-murderers were around. A really quiet kid, a thinker. But he stuck by his brother like glue. I guess they didn't have much else going for them, nobody else to watch their backs, so they were 100% together in pretty much everything. I really hoped Brian'd end up in a better place. He was brighter, kinder, and patient. Liked to read. I had hope, with him. I thought, if any of them have a chance, it's him.
And if it weren't for the third kid they fell in with, Carl, he probably would have.
Carl was a problem kid, had a file thicker than a dictionary. I saw him stab a kid, for no reason, and then say it was because he wanted to see what happened. We had to remove all scissors from our classroom because he liked to cut things. He threw a desk, once. Mid-story time, no apparent trigger. Just got up, threw it at a girl, and then laughed when she started crying.
He was a nightmare on the bus, on the playground, and so on. He had a recess duty assigned to keep an eye on him, because whether he directly did it or not, kids got hurt when he was around. He talked about killing animals, going hunting, and about doing things like taking people into the woods, getting them really lost, and then leaving them to die. He was a creep. He liked to pick on little girls. Not the ones in his grade, but ones 4 - 5 years younger. He'd corner them and bully them to tears, sometimes physically snatching at their dresses, or pulling their hair. He was awful, and constantly in and out of the principal's office.
Adam worshiped Carl, or followed him around like it, anyway, and Brian, well, he stuck with his brother. It was so sad to see happening. They all lived in the same area, and knew one another outside of school, and I always got the impression that Brian was afraid of Carl.
I know some of the other teachers in the building were. Hell, I'll even admit I was, too. I was on constant guard with him in class. He even in elementary school was fully capable of doing some serious permanent harm, and we all knew it.
Together, while still in high school, they abducted and killed a classmate.