School Stabbing in Pennsylvania

On Wednesday April 9th, Alex Hribal, a 16 year old high school student in Murrysville, Pennsylvania went to his school armed with two knives from his kitchen. With those knives, he went on a stabbing rampage, which ended up with 21 students an a security guard with stab wounds. An assistant principal was able to tackle Alex and stop the stabbings. Alex is being tried as an adult on four counts of attempted homicide, 21 counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of a weapon on school grounds.

Some of the victims were as young as 14 years old. A few were in critical condition when they were taken to the hospital, but all of them are expected to survive. So far there are no determined motives behind the attacks. Bullying is not believed to be a major factor here, however, investigators are looking into a possible threatening phone call between Alex and a fellow student, which occurred the night before the stabbings.

Alex Hribal
Town where the stabbing took place.

Functionalist Perspective

School is supposed to be a safe environment for students and faculty members. This stabbing proved for that to be a wrong statement in this situation. Students depend on other students to not do things like Alex did so that they all can survive another day. They all unknowingly put their trust into each other for stabbings and shootings to not happen. All it takes is for one student to break this unspoken agreement and disregard it. That's what Alex did the moment he took those knives from his kitchen and walked into school with the intention of doing harm. Before this event occurred, it's safe to say that everyone in that high school functioned together pretty well. Of course there were probably fights and arguments, but most likely not enough violence to possibly kill someone like Alex caused.

Conflict Perspective

As of right now, there is no determined motive as to why Alex would do what he did. There's a possibility that he could have been bullied and he wanted to get revenge on the people who bullied him, but sources say there were no targeted victims. One witness says that Alex had a crazed look on his face and he was quietly stabbing anybody who was in his way. Fellow students described Alex as having a few friends and being quiet but also being a "really nice kid." This contradicts what he did, but in the unlikely case that he was bullied, his motive was revenge. He and the bullies were in conflict with each other and it got to the point where it needed to stop. The potential threatening phone call between Alex and another student could also be evidence for Alex being bullied.

Interactionalist Perspective

The fact that students described Alex as a nice kid and then he does something like this doesn't make sense. Something must have changed him from the time he was a normal kid and when this stabbing took place. The possibility that Alex could have been a victim of bullying may have changed his attitude and perspective of the students at his high school. Assuming that he was bullied, he could have just snapped and started stabbing anybody who got in his way because he couldn't find the people who actually bullied him. If he actually wasn't bullied, then the only thing that could have changed him in such a short period of time is his mental health. Obviously he isn't mentally stable if he randomly goes on stabbing sprees; nobody who does that is sane. Whatever the cause of his change in behavior is has yet to be determined. He clearly isn't well because he told officers that he "wants to die" when they subdued him.

Alex Hribal being transferred by a police officer

I'm not sure if I believe that Alex was bullied because if he was, then why didn't he go after the people who bullied him? Some of his stabbing victims were only 14 years old and just walking in the hallway. People who witnessed the stabbings said that Alex was just stabbing whoever was in front of him at the time. That isn't a planned attack, that's completely random. There were no targeted people at that school for him to stab. Granted we don't know the full story of Alex and his relationship with his fellow classmates, I'm sure if he was being bullied it wouldn't be by some 14 year old freshman.

I don't know what it's going to take for people to wake up and realize we need stricter laws to ensure school safety. There have been so many school stabbings and shootings all across America and it continues to happen. You would think that after the Columbine shooting that there would be more security and safety in schools. Even after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting there have continued to be violence in schools across the nation. I don't think it's going to stop anytime soon unless there is security in every school as well as metal detectors. There should also be bag checks and anything should be done to keep students safe. I honestly think there are going to be more stabbing sand shootings in schools until something is done to prevent school violence once and for all.

Comment Stream

3 years ago

sad... *cries*