David Bengston

As printed in a local Portland Paper just days after the shooting where David Bengston was killed in 1985.

As Portland Junior High School reopened, students and teachers struggled to come to terms with the shootings Tuesday in which an eighth grader killed a custodian.

At the start of the day, the 380 students gathered in the auditorium to hear a state police spokesman summarize what had happened when the 13-year-old opened fire with a semiautomatic pistol, killing the custodian and injuring the principal and a secretary.

The principal, Donald Rixon, with scars on his face from being cut with flying glass when the youth fired at him through a door window, said the session was held ”so that everybody would have the same basis of information and so that we would not try to hide things from the youngsters.”

The students then went to their classrooms and discussions with their teachers, which Mr. Rixon described as:

”What’s on your mind? What do you want to say? Do you feel emotion? Do you feel like crying? It’s all right to cry, if that’s what you want to do. They talked about those kinds of things.”

Toured the Halls

About 20 community members well known to the students, such as clergymen and youth workers, also toured the halls in case individual students wanted to stop and talk.

There were 10 or 12 absentees -fewer than usual – at the two-story brick school on Main Street as this rural town of 8,400 tried to return to normal.

Mr. Rixon and the assistant principal, Fred Shiffer, met with reporters in an office over a nearby drugstore to offer, for the first time, their accounts.

They said the youth, who has been turned over to juvenile authorities to be tried as a delinquent, had been suspended twice this school year – for striking a student who had taunted him and two weeks ago for an accumulation of minor infractions of such rules as wearing a coat and hat in school.

The state police have not released the name of the student because of his age, but some officials, his classmates and residents have identified him as Floyd Warmsley, who lives with his father and a sister.

A ‘Heated’ Conversation

Last Friday, Mr. Rixon said, he had a ”heated” conversation with the student, again over wearing a coat. ”He seemed to have a very strong sense of fairness,” Mr. Rixon said. ”If he felt that he deserved the punishment, he had no difficulty accepting it. I remember one occasion he came up to me and said: ‘I did it. I was wrong.’ ”

In the Friday discussion, Mr. Rixon said, the student ”felt a certain unfairness” because ”I didn’t have every student in the school in that office at that time who was wearing a coat.” Mr. Rixon said that he did not suspend the student but that there was apparently ”some confusion” in the youth’s mind about his status.

At about 10:30 A.M. Tuesday, he said, the student came to his office, saying he did not feel well and demanding that his sister, a high school student, be called. The youth became ”somewhat upset” and left after having been advised to see the school nurse, Mr. Rixon said.

He said he tried to telephone the youth’s father but could not reach him. Shortly after 12:30, he added, the youth reappeared at his office with a gun on a sling under his overcoat and threatened to shoot him. The police said the gun belonged to the youth’s father, who has worked as a security guard.

After failing to persuade the youth to put down the gun, Mr. Rixon said, he and others ducked behind a door, and the youth fired through the window. The principal was cut in the face, and a secretary was wounded in the wrist.

The police said the youth went to the second floor, took a seventh grader hostage for a half-hour, shot and killed the custodian, David Bengston, 36, and surrendered after an aunt pleaded with him over the intercom to throw his weapon out the window.

To help honor David Bengston

Russell Jean Hampton

As reported by the Associated Press

PORT ARTHUR, Texas (AP) _ A 10-year-old boy who may have feared being reported for truancy shot a school bus driver in the head, critically wounding her, police said.

Russell Jean Hampton, 40, was shot in the base of the skull Thursday with a small-caliber handgun, police said. Hampton passed away from her injuries on November 15, 1988 several days after the shooting.

The shooting occurred after Ms. Hampton had dropped off students at Dick Dowling Elementary School and was returning to the district’s bus storage barn, police said.

″Apparently this boy had missed the bus earlier in the day and she had seen him riding his bicycle along the road on her way back,″ said police Lt. J.W. Fontenot. ″We don’t know whether he was riding his bike to school or playing hooky.″

Police speculated that Ms. Hampton had told the boy to get on the bus, with the intention of returning him to school and possibly reporting him for truancy.

To help honor Russell Jean Hampton 

Fallen Educators to be Remembered at Nationally Recognized Memorial

web-Memorial-to-Fallen-Educators

A wreath honors those included on the Memorial to Fallen Educators during last year’s rededication ceremony, June 22, 2017, in Emporia, Kansas. (Photo by Will Austin/Emporia State University)

Following the passage of the bill recognizing the Memorial to Fallen Educators as a national site, Emporia State University and the National Teachers Hall of Fame will host a rededication ceremony June 21, 2018. At the ceremony, fallen teachers and staff members from the past year will be added to the memorial. Names include those of teachers and staff members from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, victims of recent school shootings.

The National Memorial to Fallen Educators honors teachers, administrators and staff members who lost their lives while working for our nation’s schools and was created in 2013, following the tragedy at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, where six educators lost their lives. The rededication ceremony comes after President Donald Trump signed a bill to nationally recognize the site on ESU’s campus. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) with bipartisan support from representatives and senators from 10 different states.

“We are ecstatic about the national memorial designation and are making big plans for the rededication ceremony,” said Carol Strickland, executive director of the National Teachers Hall of Fame, sponsor of the memorial.

The ceremony, which begins at 2 p.m., will consist of tributes for each of the 10 fallen educators and placing a white rose at the base of the memorial for each. In addition, the members of the Class of 2018 National Teachers Hall of Fame Inductees will place the class wreath and plant two redbud trees as their gift to the memorial site. A number of other dedications and speeches will take place, including from Sherry Shaw, the National Education Association Education Support Professional of the Year, and Dr. Anthony Salvatore, an administrator from Newtown, Connecticut.

Salvatore will also announce that the NTHF Museum will become the permanent home of a dream catcher, designed and created in 1999 by a Native American tribe in Minnesota to be presented to the students at Columbine High School after the tragic shooting. It has since moved to Minnesota, Connecticut and now resides in Parkland, Florida, after tragic school shootings in those states.

The National Teachers Hall of Fame is also raising funds to purchase a new granite book for the memorial. The recent deaths of teachers and staffers will fill the two current books with more teachers yet to add to account for those killed over the past 12 months. $17,000 is needed to begin the process of adding a book, with the final cost coming to $39,000. The National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers are helping the fundraising effort and are encouraging the community to help as well. For more information on donating to the cause, call the Hall of Fame at 620-341-5660 or go online to www.nthf.org. All donations are tax-deductible.

“Donating to the memorial is an excellent way for people to honor educators who have made a difference in their lives,” said Strickland. “No donation is too small, and larger donations are always welcome.”

Names to be added include:

  • Ruth Berg, receptionist, Minnehaha Academy, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Aug. 2, 2017, natural gas explosion
  • John Carlson, janitor, Minnehaha Academy, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Aug. 2, 2017, natural gas explosion
  • Daniel Buesgens, buildings and grounds employee, Chaska Middle School East, Chaska, Minnesota, Jan. 8, 2018, fell from a ladder
  • Richard Lee Proffitt, bus driver, Prince William County Schools, Bristow, Virginia, Feb. 5, 2018, struck and killed by another bus driver in the parking lot of the school transportation center
  • Scott Beigel, teacher, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Parkland, Florida, Feb. 14, 2018, school shooting
  • Aaron Feis, security guard & football coach, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Parkland, Florida, Feb. 14, 2018, school shooting
  • Chris Hixon, athletic director, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Parkland, Florida, Feb. 14, 2018, school shooting
  • Jennifer Williamson, teacher, East Brook Middle School, Paramus, New Jersey, May 17, 2018, bus accident on field trip in Mount Olive, New Jersey
  • Glenda Ann Perkins, substitute teacher, Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe, Texas, May 18, 2018, school shooting
  • Cynthia Tisdale, substitute teacher, Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe, Texas, May 18, 2018, school shooting

Dignitaries expected to attend:

  • Allison Garrett, ESU President
  • Danny Giefer, Mayor of Emporia
  • Dr. Jeff Colyer, Governor of Kansas
  • Senator Jerry Moran or representative
  • Congressman Roger Marshall or representative
  • Mark Schreiber, Kansas Representative, District 60
  • Jeff Longbine, Kansas Senator, District 17
  • Dr. Anthony Salvatore, Newtown, Connecticut, administrator
  • Anna Fusco, Florida Education Association official
  • Noel Candelaria, Texas State Teachers Association and National Education Association (NEA) official
  • Sherry Shaw of Alaska, National Education Association Education Support Professional of the Year
  • Mark Farr, Kansas NEA President

KANSAS MEMORIAL TO GET NATIONAL RECOGNITION

April 16, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON D.C.- Today Congress passed legislation to recognize the Fallen Educators Memorial in Emporia, Kansas a national memorial. The Fallen Educators Memorial honors teachers, administrators, and staff members who lost their lives while working for our nation’s schools.

“Educators devote their lives to preparing our children for life-long success and rewarding careers, it is so important to remember these men and women as the heroes that they truly are.” Rep. Marshall said.

Rep. Marshall and Sen. Moran both introduced bills in the House and Senate for its designation.

“Educators play an integral role in shaping the next generations of Americans, and their dedication to the safety of their students too often goes unrecognized,” said Sen. Moran. “I applaud the House for passing this legislation to designate this memorial a National Memorial and I look forward to the president signing this bill into law, making certain the memorial continues to recognize fallen educators whose passion and commitment to their students have benefitted us all.”

Once the president signs this into law, the memorial will be the first nationally designated memorial in Kansas.

“On behalf of The National Teachers Hall of Fame staff and Board of Trustees, we are deeply indebted to the hard work of Senator Jerry Moran and Representative Roger Marshall to bring our vision of a national memorial to a reality,”Director of the National Teachers Hall of Fame, (NTHF which created the memorial) Carol Strickland, said.

The United States currently lacks a national memorial to honor our fallen teachers.

“They are sometimes the first responder, protector, and guardian of our children, providing a safe haven for learning to occur.  The memorial will forever remember the names and stories of these educators who lost their lives while doing what they loved, working with America’s school children,” Strickland said.

Today the memorial honors 119 American educators have lost their lives while performing their professional duties.

“While we hope that no more names will ever have to be added, this memorial site provides a degree of comfort and solace to the loved ones left behind after accidents and tragedies occur in our nation’s schools,” Strickland said.

Following the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 that killed six educators and 20 children, the Emporia Community and the NTHF began brainstorming ways to honor the educators who lost their lives in the attack. That’s when they realized that there was nothing currently commemorating our nation’s fallen teachers. They began raising money and built the memorial in just two years.

“This was a true community effort. I am so proud of the folks at the National Teacher’s Hall of Fame and Emporia State University for their leadership that got this memorial off the ground, and I’m proud that it will soon get national recognition,” Rep. Marshall said.