Need a perfect paper? Place your first order and save 5% with this code:   SAVE5NOW

Stabbing in Southwood Middle School

Violent crimes in school occur rarely, but once they happen, they affect the peace and interrupt all learning activities in the school. On February 3rd 2004, Southwood Middle School experienced a violent crime that would be remembered for centuries to come. On that day, a student in the school was murdered by another student in the school’s bathroom. Jaime Rodrigo Gough, the victim of the violent crime in Southwood Middle School, lost his life on that fateful day. The offender, Michael Hernandez, was arrested for the crime, and it was later revealed he was guilty. The two students went into the bathroom, where Michael stabbed Jaime forty times. Michael left Jaime to die on the bathroom floor, where another student discovered his body. The student who found Jaime’s body informed the school’s resource officer, who dialled 911 immediately. According to Marrero et al. (2004) by the time the paramedics arrived, Jaime had a lot of blood and had died. The victim and the offender were of the same age and believed they were in the same class. The school responded immediately after Jaime’s body was discovered and the police officers arrived.

The school administration put the school on the school on immediate lockdown. The police arrived, and the school was secured with yellow tape, which immediately made it a crime scene. Students at the school were all asked to stay in the classes they had for the first period since the event took place a few minutes before classes commenced. Sirens and yellow tape in the school attracted the attention of several parents who came to the school to find out what happened. Many parents were worried for their children’s safety and did not appreciate being locked out without access to their children. The school administration did not respond appropriately to the incident because they did not give any information to the parents. The school should have prioritized providing information to the parents to help them remain calm and less worried. The students should have also been given some information regarding the incident by their teachers to avoid them creating rumours and making wrong speculations. The lockdown was necessary, and the school took the necessary precautions. However, the school failed to communicate with the parents and the other students.

The security of the school was an issue because the offender, Micheal Hernandez, was in possession of a dangerous weapon. The school should have been able to stop the incident from happening through stricter security measures. Children should not be allowed to go to the bathroom without supervision or during times when there are no or few students in the vicinity. School bathrooms are common places where students get bullied or stolen from, and in the case of Southwood Middle School, murdered. The article by Sun Sentinel reveals that before Jaime’s murder occurred, several incidents of school violence had been reported in the school. Bathrooms in Southwood Middle School were vulnerable to violence, and more security should have been put in place. The incident in Southwood Middle school was unexpected, and no red flags were present. The victim and the offender knew one another, and they were even considered friends. The students were not involved in any fights, and other students did not know about any issues the two might have had against one another. The actions of Micheal Hernandez shocked everyone who knew them.

Victim precipitation is a theory that suggests crime victims are responsible for the crimes that cause them harm. Jaime Rodrigo Gough and Michael Hernandez knew each other, which means there might have been chances of victim precipitation. However, Michael’s actions do not convey victim precipitation because his plans to kill Jaime seemed carefully well thought out and planned. Michael already had his weapon ready, and he knew where he wanted to commit the crime. Most cases where crimes occur due to victim precipitation they happen suddenly and are not premeditated.

Southwood Middle School needs an improved security system to help in preventing similar incidents from happening. Parents need to know their children are safe when on the school premises because most parents will not allow their children to go to school without a secure environment. The school needs to invest in metal detectors at the school entrance and bathroom doors. Such a security measure will prevent students from carrying weapons in the school. Students need to be educated on the importance of peaceful interactions as a security measure. Students’ knowledge of crime and how it affects their lives will help them avoid any form of violence that may have negative consequences for them. Violence in schools is common because many schools in Florida and the country have reported incidents where students have been harmed by others or by intruders. School violence can cause psychological distress, permanent disabilities, and long-term mental health issues in the students (Ferrara, 2019). Violence in schools is not a current matter, and this is evident through the mass shooting in Columbine School in 1999. The mass shooting in columbine led to the death of thirteen people and the injury of several others. Schools such as Sandy Hook Elementary and Marjory Stoneman Douglas have also been affected by school violence. Vossekuil et. al (2004) states that such high-profile shootings experienced in the past decade have increased fear among students, parents and educators.

The law should punish any person who takes the life of an innocent person. Michael Hernandez should receive a punishment that guarantees justice to Jaime Rodrigo’s parents and all those affected by Jaime’s death. The appropriate punishment for Michael is for him to spend his life in prison, where his freedom will be restricted. A lifetime of imprisonment will serve as an atonement for the murder of Jaime, and he will be prevented from murdering other students. People like Michael should not be let back into the community because they might still be a danger to others. Michael Hernandez should show remorse for his actions and give a clear motive for why he ended the life of Jaime Rodrigo before any mercy is considered on his behalf. It is crucial for people who commit violent crimes in school to face maximum punishment for them to serve as examples to others on the same path. Justice was served because Micheal was found guilty of first-degree murder. Pastrana (2015) states that Michael’s lawyers appealed his case when the Supreme Court ruled that life sentences cannot be imposed on juveniles. However, the court reconvicted him, and he continued to serve his sentence in prison until he died of what was ruled a heart complication. Jaime’s parents were happy with the court decision because they knew their son’s killer was not walking away from what he did without any punishment.

In conclusion, violent crimes in schools are increasing at an alarming rate. Southwood Middle School faced a tragic incident that left one of its bright students dead and another in jail for murder. The school administration tried to handle their response to the incident well, but they failed in matters regarding communications to the parents and the students. Security in schools should be a priority because learning can flourish only in a safe environment. Jaime’s death shocked many, and no red flags indicated the two had any disputes. The school should increase their metal detectors and educate the students on the dangers of any form of violence. Micheal Hernandez was found guilty of Jaime’s murder, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. The law fulfilled its obligations to the victims, and justice was served.


Ferrara, P. (2019, June 27). Physical, psychological and social impact of school violence on children – Italian Journal of Pediatrics. BioMed Central.

Marrero, D., Diaz, M., & Schwartz, N. (2004). Teen slain at middle school. Sun Sentinel.

Pastrana, L. (2015, March 16). Re-Sentencing Set For Miami Middle School Murderer. CBS Local.

Vossekuil, B., Fein, R. A., Reddy, M., Borum, R., & Modzeleski, W. (2004, June). The final report and findings of the safe school initiative: Implications for the prevention of school attacks in the United States. United States Secret Service and United States Department of Education. Washington, DC.


Don't have time to write this essay on your own?
Use our essay writing service and save your time. We guarantee high quality, on-time delivery and 100% confidentiality. All our papers are written from scratch according to your instructions and are plagiarism free.
Place an order

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Need a plagiarism free essay written by an educator?
Order it today

Popular Essay Topics