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Cuyamaca College Nathaniel Brazill Case Study

Cuyamaca College Nathaniel Brazill Case Study


Chapter 2 addresses the notion of school violence. It notes that the response to school violence has been in policy development, training of teachers and students, specialized law enforcement training, zero tolerance, and early detection. The case for review is on the topic of violence on school grounds.

Review the video on the case of Nathaniel Brazill.Read the case of the case scenario., then respond to the questions at the end.

As the governor of a large southern state, you have been asked by a young man’s family and friends to grant him a pardon. Nathaniel Brazill was convicted of second-degree murder in 1995 and received a sentence of 28 years in the state penal system. Tried as an adult, he was found guilty of murder for intentionally killing Mr. Barry G., his English teacher, because he was angry over receiving a failing grade and being suspended for throwing water balloons. During the trial, Nathaniel’s attorney claimed that the gun Nathaniel brought to school had gone off accidentally after he pointed it at Mr. G. in an attempt to force him to let Nathaniel talk to two girls in the classroom. 

“As he’s holding the gun up, he’s overwhelmed with tears, “Nathaniel’s lawyer told the jury. “His hands begin to shake, and the gun discharges. The gun discharges in the hands of an inexperienced 13-year-old with a junk gun.” The prosecutor countered that Nathaniel’s act was premeditated. He was frustrated because he was receiving an F in the class, and he was angry because he was being barred from talking to the girls. His victim” had no idea of the rage, hate, the anger, the frustration” filling the young man. There was also damaging information from police, who reported that Nathaniel told a classmate he would return to school and shoot the teacher; he said he’d be all over the news.” 

At his sentencing hearing, Nathaniel read a statement: “Words cannot explain how sorry I am, but they’re all I have. “His mother, Polly, blamed herself for her son’s actions, claiming that he was surrounded by domestic abuse and alcoholism at home.

Now that he has served seven years in prison, Nathaniel’s case has come to your attention; as governor, you recognize that his conviction and punishment raise a number of important issues.  His mother claims that his actions were a product of abuse and violence in the home. You have read research showing that many habitually aggressive children have been raised in homes where their parents brutalized them; this violence persists into adulthood. 

Respond to the questions below:

  1. Should troubled children, such as Nathaniel, be punished again by the justice system?

Should Nathaniel be held personally responsible for actions that a home life beyond his control may have, in fact, caused?

Even though he was only 13 years old when he committed his crime, Nathaniel’s case was heard in an adult court, and he received a long sentence in an adult prison. Should minor children who commit serious offenses, as Nathaniel did, be treated as adults, or should they be tried within an independent juvenile system oriented to treatment and rehabilitation?

Would you pardon Nathaniel now that he has served more than seven years in prison?

Conduct additional research on the case & note updated information on the status of Nathaniel B. 

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