A tale of two teens

James Alenson - obit photo .saved in photo tues. max

James Alenson

Slain teenager recalled as good student who avoided trouble:

Easy-going with a shy smile, James Alenson was a good student with a dry sense of humor who got along well with peers, recalled former classmates and his former speech team coach at Wilson Middle School in Natick.

“I cannot imagine him getting into a confrontation with anybody,” said Deanie Goodman, who coached the boy for two years on Wilson Middle’s speech team. “He was a really sweet kid, somewhat shy, a little bit quiet, and really easy-going. I could not believe this would happen to a kid like that.”

Alenson was not a master orator and had joined the speech team at his parents’ urging. But he was a good sport about going to weekly practices after school and cheered his younger sister, a team member and a great speaker, Goodman said.

Former classmates said that Alenson, tall and lanky with sandy blond hair and blue eyes, kept to himself and never caused trouble. But he would not allow classmates to pick on him, often retorting back when teased, students said. They do not recall him getting into physical fights.

“When people would make fun of him, he wouldn’t let it go,” said Cassie Kosky, 15, a freshman at Natick High School who had gone to school with Alenson before he moved. “He wouldn’t flip out, but would come up with a remark.”

Former Natick classmates said Alenson was typically an A student at the middle school. Antone Wilson, 15 and a Natick High freshman, said that whenever he would ask Alenson for the answers to a test, Alenson would say no.

Wilson emphasized that while quiet, Alenson was no pushover.

“He wouldn’t let people bully him around,” Wilson said.

Jeff Scannell, 15, has known Alenson since the boys were about 9 years old and they attended the same speech therapy class. In eighth grade last year, they were in the same math and English honors classes. Alenson liked to spend his time reading and writing and rarely interrupted class, Scannell said.

“He was a nice kid to be around,” said Scannell, a Natick High freshman. “He wouldn’t say one bad thing about another student. He was easy to talk to.”

Lynn Rome, whose son attended the eighth grade with Alenson, said her son and his friend described Alenson as an “extremely bright, studious, and very friendly boy.”

Samantha Abrams, 18, a senior from Sudbury said she was a “peer connector” for freshmen, including Alenson. “He was really quiet and shy,” Abrams said. “He was just an innocent little kid and he didn’t deserve anything like this.”

Parents honor “sweet” James “We will carry him in our hearts forever”

The parents of slain “sweet, funny, kind” student James Alenson broke their silence yesterday saying that they are devastated by the loss of their 15-year-old boy, who was stabbed to death at his suburban school.

“He was always embarrassed by the adjectives we had to use to describe him; sweet, funny, kind, considerate, gentle. An innocent. Always the first to offer help, incapable of telling a lie, he was a genuinely good person in a world that under appreciates how much joy that brings to the people around them,” the statement said.

Alenson worked part time for a community organic farm in Natick and spent his summers at a camp in New Hampshire, where he was hoping to become a counselor, according to the family.

Alenson’s family, including his two siblings, moved from Natick to Sudbury last year so Alenson could be in a safer and better school, family members have said. Lincoln-Sudbury classmates said he hadn’t made many close friends yet, but he was universally described as a sweet and quiet straight-A student.

Those of you who are trying to make James Alenson out to be some kind of aggressor or tormentor, in this case, should be absolutely ashamed of yourselves. There is absolutely nothing to indicate that James Alenson was not a good kid. One of the things about this website is that if I defend or berate someone on this site I usually hear from their friends or family within a few days telling me how wrong I am. I have yet to hear from anyone that knew James Alenson to tell me otherwise.

On the other hand…

State report describes teen’s early aggression:

In seventh grade, John Odgren had several explosive episodes, was verbally abusive, and at times became physically aggressive, his parents, specialists, and teachers said, according to a state hearing report.

His parents had argued to the state agency that their son needed better services than he had received from the Wachusett Regional School District, which had placed him in an alternative school in Fitchburg. At that school, he was so miserable he came home and “often spent evenings wrapped in a blanket, crying,” one of his parents testified.

The state agreed that the placement was not appropriate and ordered Wachusett to pay for Odgren’s attendance at a smaller program in Belmont that his parents had found.

The report, giving an overall description, said that Odgren became aggressive at times when confused or ordered to do work, but did not offer details other than to say he was suspended three times for physical aggression within a two-month period at Caldwell Alternative School in Fitchburg. His parents, at the same time, were expressing concern for his physical and emotional safety at Caldwell, whose principal declined to comment.

The report made one mention of him having “explosive episodes” in fall 2002 in Wachusett’s special education program, but did not detail those. Wachusett school officials declined to comment about Odgren, citing student confidentiality.

Odgren, according to the state report, was diagnosed with depression and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in 2000 and later placed in a special education program at a Wachusett elementary school. In 2002, in the sixth grade, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s. His parents complained that he needed training in social skills, according to the state report, but never received it.

Shortly after beginning seventh grade in a Wachusett school, his performance deteriorated, according to the report, and the school system placed him at Caldwell Alternative School in Fitchburg for students in grades 7 to 12. The school serves students with emotional and behavioral problems and learning disabilities.

But he floundered at Caldwell, where the other students “teased, used foul and aggressive language, and were rude and disrespectful to each other and to the teacher,” according to the report. Odgren’s behavior grew more troubling, resulting in the suspensions and his failing three subjects.

In March 2003, his parents took him out of Caldwell and placed him at Pathways Academy in a special education program at McLean Hospital in Belmont for students ages 12 and 13. There, his behavior dramatically improved, the report stated.

Odgren told his parents the program was “like heaven.” His father testified that after about six weeks at Pathways, Odgren “demonstrated spontaneous empathy for the first time.”

It is unknown whether Odgren went directly from Pathways to Lincoln-Sudbury and whether school officials were made aware of the state report that described a history of physical aggression. Beginning this school year, he was a sophomore at Lincoln-Sudbury enrolled in Great Opportunities, a program for students with significant emotional and/or psychiatric disabilities. Lincoln-Sudbury officials have said they had no knowledge of any violent behavior involving Odgren.

According to the state’s report, Odgren needed to be in an educational environment where he would not be threatened and would “be free from peers who tease, bully, or have behaviorally based disorders.”

In the days after the stabbing, Lincoln-Sudbury students told reporters that Odgren had been teased by schoolmates for wearing a trench coat in the halls like the killers in Columbine High School. Police have not said why Odgren allegedly stabbed Alenson, who was described as shy and sweet, in a boy’s bathroom.

Odgren’s mother , Dorothy, a nurse at a Worcester clinic, is a fierce advocate for her son, said Kathryn Mattison, a Princeton child and family therapist. Dorothy Odgren is a fixture at area conferences on Asperger’s, she said, adding that she met Dorothy Odgren when she was a school nurse at Princeton’s Thomas Prince Elementary School, which Mattison’s children attended.

He was known to have “explosive episodes” yet his parents allowed him to have an extensive knife collection? What the hell were they thinking? And why should it be the state’s responsibility to make sure that he gets training in social skills? If they were so worried about him being in a school where the students teased, used foul and aggressive language, and were rude and disrespectful to each other and to the teacher then they could have homeschooled him because a far as I’m concerned that sounds like every school in the world. If your child has a learning disability it is the parents’ responsibility to make sure he gets help. Not the state’s and not the schools’ but the parents’. And for those of you who either have or know someone with Asperger’s and are saying “oh poor John Odgren”, stop using your disability as a crutch. Stop acting like a damn victim. So God dealt you a bad hand. Suck it up. There are a lot of people worse off than you and there are a lot more people who don’t constantly whine about having Asperger’s. John Odgren is a danger to society pure and simple and needs to be put away for a long time. Don’t like what I have to say? No one is making you stay here.

21 Comments

  1. Sounds to me like someone should have taken the time to help John earlier on so he wouldn’t have gotten to the point he did today. Everyone ignored him while he grew more and more insane and instead of doing anything practical they drugged him.

    Is he a threat to society now, yes probably, does that mean he will be 10 or even 5 years from now, no, heck according to some people here you can get over past trama in a few months-years. If ever there was a time I wished a state had dual-juristiction this is it, sadly I don’t think they (as liberal as they are) do.

    As for us using asperger’s as a crutch, perhaps we are, but then again I don’t think you should be the one to talk about being delt a worse hand. You have no clue what it is like to be autistic, to not understand what is going on around you and subsequently being quite afraid of it and beinb bullied in it. You were delt a lovely hand next to most aspies so if you want to bring someone who was dealt a worse hand here go ahead, if not please don’t be talking about being dealt a bad hand.

    Yes you are right, he should have been homeschooled and his parents should have just paid for some social skills training… but they didn’t. Now I know I know you would still love to see him fry for what he did but I think that is once again punishing the son for the sins of the father. Don’t like what I have to say? No one is making you stay here.

    As always it was your pleasure.

    Like

  2. Sounds to me like someone should have taken the time to help John earlier on so he wouldn’t have gotten to the point he did today.

    You mean like his parents. Hell, let’s put them in jail too for all I care. They’re the ones who allowed him to have the murder weapon.

    Now I know I know you would still love to see him fry for what he did but I think that is once again punishing the son for the sins of the father.

    The father didn’t kill anybody. As much as I’d like it to be bad parenting isn’t against the law.

    You were delt a lovely hand next to most aspies.

    Yes I was and I thank God every day for it but Aspergers is still not an excuse for murder and no matter how you dress it up that’s what you’re saying.

    Like

  3. Once again you use the word muder, that assumes he was in control of his mind at the time of the incident. If not that is EED (manslaughter) or an insanity plea, in other words he should not be in jail forever like you want, a long time yes perhaps, forever defientally not if he can get over it (which most aspies have the ability to do with time and training).

    Next it was his parents that should have known not to give him a murder weapon. It is obvious that any aspie who preservates on criminal stuff would love a weapon, it was his parents that should have known better. While I don’t think their crimes amount to a jail sentence something needs to be done on that front.

    Like

  4. I don’t care if he was in control of his mind or not. If he wasn’t that makes him an even greater danger. Throw him in a hole forever for all I care.

    Like

  5. You missed what I am trying to say. Many many many aspies lose control of their mind when they are younger (fortunently they generally just have fists not knives), teenage years being especcially bad due to puberty and the like. Almost all of them get over this with time and training (both done by them and by others). So why lock him up for life for something he will most likely one day get over?

    Like

  6. John Odgren’s disability does not alleviate his responsibily for his actions. In order to use an insanity defense, it must be shown that a person does not understand right from wrong, and does not understand that his or her actions lead to consequences. This was not the case. John Odgren concealed the weapon that he brought to school. If he didn’t understand right from wrong, he would not have bothered to conceal the weapon. Also, after brutally attacking James Alenson, he said that he didn’t want him to die. Clearly, he understood that his actions have serious consequences. As far as the parents are concerned, they may be liable if they were obligated to reveal crucial information to the school which was concealed. Also, they may be liable if they provided a lethal weapon or weapons to a potentially dangerous person. It needs to be evaluated as to if this horrific tragedy could have been evaluated if James Odgren’s parents were more responsible.

    Like

  7. Doesn’t it just need to show he didn’t understand the difference between right and wrong at the time he committed the crime. This might not have been the first time he brought a knife to school and he might not have been planning to use it, or at least not use it on others. The security at that school sounds quite lax and I have heard of aspies carrying knifes around for self-protection and other purposes.

    When an aspie has a breakdown all matters of right and wrong all gone. It is just them and everyone else (or often times one particular enemy) if that is what happened here that would be very close to an EED defense. In addition to that while most would say he had to bring the knife to school to kill that is not the case, my stepdad brought a knife to school every day with him (granted it was a much different time) and it has been shown he enjoys weapons. He might just have brought it to either show others or because he always does.

    Like

  8. That’s the lamest excuse ever. It’s common sense that you don’t bring a weapon to school. The school security may have been lax but ultimately it’s Odgren’s responsibility not to bring the knife to school. He brought a contraband weapon on school grounds and used it in a homicide. EED or not he needs to go away forever. Sanitarium or prison. It makes no difference to me.

    Like

  9. So I take it you never brought anything bad to school, weapons or otherwise?

    Also I have noticed you are always argueing in favor of the law and the status quo (just this week you did that with your Hainstock report) yet here you would dare to break the law by sending a kid to jail for life when the penalty is much less severe then that. What gives???, do you only like the law when it serves your purposes???

    But seriously what you are saying is to send all people to jail for life who commit crimes with weapons they should not have. Battered wife illegally buys a gun to protect herself then ends up shooting her abusive husband, jail for life for example (that would also normally be a manslaughter charge). You are going down a dangerous road my friend, I sure hope you know what you are doing.

    Like

  10. So I take it you never brought anything bad to school, weapons or otherwise?

    The worse thing I ever brought to school were cigarettes and even then I was only hurting myself.

    yet here you would dare to break the law by sending a kid to jail for life when the penalty is much less severe then that. What gives???

    How is sending him to jail for life for first degree murder, which is what he’s been charged with, breaking the law?

    But seriously what you are saying is to send all people to jail for life who commit crimes with weapons they should not have. Battered wife illegally buys a gun to protect herself then ends up shooting her abusive husband, jail for life for example (that would also normally be a manslaughter charge).

    Apples and Oranges. John Odgren was not an abuse victim at the hands of James Aleson.

    Like

  11. Simply if he didn’t commit first degree murder he shouldn’t be charged/convicted of it, if this is shown to be an EED case (which even your doctor friend seems to agree with me that it was) he should get a manslaughter conviction.

    And A) you just think he wasn’t bullied by James Aleson, your probably right but just saying and B) I think if he would have killed the bully you would still be demanding life in prision.

    Like

  12. “In seventh grade, John Odgren …. at times became physically aggressive.”

    A 12-year old gets in a dust-up on the school playground? My God, what is the world coming to?

    “Odgren…. was diagnosed with depression and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in 2000”

    Do the math. They’ve probably had Odgren on Ritalin since age nine or ten. A drug that cuts the flow of blood to the brain by 20%, as does its close chemical relative–cocaine. This kid never had a chance.

    “….he was a sophomore at Lincoln-Sudbury enrolled in Great Opportunities, a program for students with significant emotional and/or psychiatric disabilities.”

    Oh yeah, I’m sure that did wonders for Odgren’s social status. Why didn’t they just make him wear a sign around his neck with the word ‘retard’ on it?

    “Odgren needed to be in an educational environment where he would “be free from peers who…. have behaviorally-based disorders.” ”

    Wonderful. Isolate him from the very group he would most likely be accepted into.

    ——————–

    With all due respect, his parents sound like educated idiots. Anybody who thinks their growing son needs to be on an incessant regimen of mind-altering drugs have lost all semblance of common sense. They, like their son, seem to have been victims of our nation’s educational system. Or maybe they were being intentionally(though unconsciously) cruel. And it sounds like his parents and the school would not permit any normal outlet for his aggressions and anger. No wonder the kid was a walking time-bomb.

    Like

  13. I agree though I can’t help but think that if there wasn’t all this curbie shit and more programs in schools that truely understood asperger’s this wouldn’t have happened. I mean his parents as bad as they were (/might have been) even argued to get him more supports in school, that argument sadly fail on deaf ears.

    There defientally needs to be more talk of how to let an aspies anger get out. Psycolgists seem to be the only option that parents consider, and all psycolgists consider is drugs. Karate has been known to be a life saver to many aspie familes, yet I doubt anyone else here would have known that… it is sad really.

    Like

  14. The schools have enough to do. Now you want them to do medical diagnosis too?

    Here’s what we need to do:

    –Take the mercury out of vaccines(the stuff that causes Aspergers)

    –Take the drugs out the kid’s bloodstreams

    –Take the gore out of prime-time TV shows and video games

    –Take the torture out of our TVs(“24”) and our foreign policy(its no accident that violent crimes go up when the nation goes to war)

    –Take the death ed out of the curriculum

    –Take the flouride out of the water

    –Take the chemtrails out of the air

    –Take the aspartame(very close chemically to formadehyde) out of everything

    –Take the artificial colorings, preservatives, and flavorings out of the food, as much as possible

    –Bring back Physical Ed and recess

    Like

  15. Asperger’s is not an illness, people just have to learn to deal with it correctly. We probably wouldn’t have some of greatest inventions ever if it wasn’t for asperger’s. Some please stop with the mercury stuff. (Remember I myself am an aspie). The rest makes sense though is depressing as it will never happen, well most won’t.

    And no all I want the schools to do is provide needed supports for the students (FAPE and all of that). I can’t believe that a student with his reputation didn’t have more supports in place then from what it seems like just part time in special education. Anyone who still rages at that age needs closer supervision then that, and the money for an aide seems like a small price to pay next to a life (or bodily harm done to a student as the case may be).

    Like

  16. —-Take the gore out of prime-time TV shows and video games

    That has nothing to do with any of this. Violence is a part of human nature and you’ll never get rid of teen violence even if you show nothing but Sesame Street on every channel.
    It’s pointless and it’s still the most ridiculous excuse that I still keep on hearing.

    Like

  17. 1) If pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat tuna because of trace amounts of mercury, why is it OK to inject a far greater amount of mercury directly into the bloodstreams of newborn babies?

    2) True, pop media has always been soaked with blood and violence at least since the advent of writing. But have you noticed that tv and movies have been unnecessarily gory of late? Since when have close-ups of rotting corpses been a staple of our nightly entertainment, as in ‘CSI’, ‘Crossing Jordan’ and others? When torture is routinely being portrayed in a positive light, as in ’24’ and ‘Saw 1,2,3’, you can be sure it is part of the agenda and that agenda is to pull the American people into a moral and ethical cesspool.

    Why are they doing that? Because the future is going to get very ugly, and morally-minded people are just going to get in the way. And you can take that to the bank.

    ———————–
    “There are many events that could lead to the government sucking our freedom up. A terrorist attack occurs, the Bill of Rights and Constitution are suspended, martial law ensues. Civil unrest occurs as a result of the “every man for themselves” nation-wide order. The Government starts rounding up individuals they deem as a “threat” and hold them indefintely. Conflicts between militias and government hired-guns flare up as the people fear the US has plunged into a police state.”
    —-Jeff Weise, Red Lake

    Like

  18. I put up with your tin foil ways because you’re a great researcher. But quoting a murderer like Jeff Weise gets you banned.

    Like

  19. The reason why there are shows like ’24’ and ‘CSI’ is because they reflect reality. If their weren’t crime scenes containing grizzly rotting corpses, and terrorists threatening our lives everyday, those shows wouldn’t be on.

    Violence did not start with fiction.

    Like

  20. I love quoting Stalin, are you going to ban me for that. Just because you quote someone doesn’t mean you agree with what they have done.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.