An Early Columbine

On April 12, 1792 , armed with five pistols, eight boys declared war on the Principal and Patrons of  their school in Belfast, Ireland. They seized loaves of bread and beef from the kitchen and locked themselves up in the mathematics room. They demanded that certain concessions be made before they would leave.

The Soveriegn of the Academy, the Reverend William Bruce, who was also the minister of the First Presbyterian Church, was unable to convince the students to surrender.

When the boys fired off several volleys, the street was sealed off by a large force of armed men. The boys set fire to the building and slaters climbed the roof in order to put out the fire. Smiths were also brought in to break the locks, and during the night the boys surrendered.

Fortunately, no one was killed in this early model of a school incursion, but it is not because the times were less violent than they are today. In fact, the American Revolution had only recently ended and the French Revolution was in full swing.

Children emulate their elders. The people of Belfast praised the egalitarian principles of both of these revolutions, and the students had every reason to believe that force was the appropriate way to achieve the liberties that they desired.

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