ESSENCE Poll: Should Teen Poet Have Been Suspended for Sandy Hook Poem?

Courtni Webb, a 17-year-old San Francisco high school senior, is facing expulsion after her teacher discovered a poem she had written in response to the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School killings. In the poem Webb expressed empathy for Adam Lanza. “I understand the killings in Connecticut. I know why he pulled the trigger,” she wrote. “Misery loves company. If I can’t be loved no one can.”

Webb says she didn’t turn in the poem as an assignment; instead a teacher discovered it and took it to the principal who promptly suspended her for violating the school’s zero tolerance toward violence policy. In a statement, the school said Webb’s poem “contained deeply concerning, and threatening language related to the recent school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.”

Webb’s mother, Valerie Statham, disagrees with the school’s decision to suspend her daughter. “I feel like they’re overreacting. Because my daughter doesn’t have a history of violence,” she said. “She didn’t threaten anybody. She didn’t threaten herself. She simply said she understood why.”

Webb’s family will know the San Francisco Unified School District’s final decision about her enrollment when schools open on January 7. 

Watch Webb read part of her poem on ABC San Francisco and let us know what you think. Was her school justified in suspending her and possibly expelling her? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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