Fixing Columbine

Fixing Columbine

The Challenge to American Liberalism

by Doriane Lambelet Coleman

Tags: Criminal Law, Culture and Law, Current Affairs, Education, Sociology

304 pp  $30.00

ISBN 978-0-89089-192-6

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Fixing Columbine uses the 1999 school shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, as a metaphor for the much larger, and largely silent, epidemic of childhood dysfunction that has swept the nation in the last thirty years, claiming as its victims approximately 15 to 25 million American children annually. Using both a child development lens and comparative analysis, the book first describes the causes of the epidemic which include—for the affected children—absent adults, toxic media exposures, dysfunctional peers, and an anti-social educational environment. It then tackles the question how to fix it. The book argues that classical liberal principles as represented in the constitutional doctrines of parental autonomy and free speech simultaneously enabled the epidemic and impede the most obvious law-based solutions. It concludes with a partial answer in the public schools as they perform their original and still-salient communitarian function.

Everyone talks about Columbine and offers seat-of-the-pants analyses. What is needed is an account of the matter grounded in a thorough knowledge of the many contexts it touches. Doriane Coleman has written that book. She is at once passionate and dispassionate, and when you finish reading Fixing Columbine you know not only that you should care but why you should care."
— Stanley Fish, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago