Return to main page
(born April 3, 1962)
The story of ”I don’t like Mondays"
A convicted American murderer who carried out a shooting spree at Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California on January 29, 1979. Principal Burton Wragg and head custodian Mike Suchar were killed in the attack, while eight children and a police officer sustained wounds. One of the children, who was hit in the hand, talked about the incident on a local radio station.
The school was across the street from Spencer's house, from which she fired the shots. She used a rifle that she had recently been given for Christmas 1978 by her father. When asked why she went on her rampage, she shrugged and replied, "I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day." She also said, "I had no reason for it, and it was just a lot of fun"; "It was just like shooting ducks in a pond"' and "[The children] looked like a herd of cows standing around; it was really easy pickings." At the time of the shootings, Brenda Ann Spencer was 16 years old.
She pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon, and was sentenced to prison for 25 years to life, currently being served at The California Institution for Women in Chino. She has been eligible for parole four times and has been turned down each time, most recently in 2005. She will be eligible for parole again on August 13th, 2009. (See text below)
In 2005, she claimed that she was drunk and under the influence of PCP, and that her father, Wallace Spencer, had sexually abused her as a child and that the state and her attorney conspired to hide her drug test results.
Spencer's crime, her perceived lack of remorse, and lack of a serious explanation for her actions when she was captured, inspired the song "I Don't Like Mondays" by the Irish band The Boomtown Rats, written by Bob Geldof.
Her quote, "I Don't Like Mondays," also appears written on a wall in the 1985 movie The Breakfast Club.
Parole hearing August 13th. 2009
Posted: Aug 14, 2009 3:05 AM Thursday, August 13, 2009 9:05 PM EST Updated: Aug 14, 2009 3:05 AM Thursday, August 13, 2009 9:05 PM EST
A state parole board today denied a fourth bid for freedom by a woman who was 16 when she killed two people and wounded nine others during a shooting spree at a San Carlos elementary school in 1979. The announcement that the board had denied parole for Brenda Spencer was made by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office. Brenda Spencer, now 47, was previously denied parole in 1993, 2001 and 2005, and will not be eligible to try again for 10 years. Spencer killed a principal and a custodian and wounded eight students and an officer when she opened fire with a .22-caliber rifle on Grover Cleveland Elementary, across the street from her home. Spencer, who was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in 1980, told a reporter back then that she fired three dozen shots at the school because she "didn't like Mondays." She added that shooting "livens up the day."She later told prison officials she felt unwanted at the time of the shootings and was jealous of the other youths who had someone to protect them. Source: http://www.760kfmb.com/Global/story.asp?S=10928307
Geldof wrote the song after reading a telex report at Georgia State University's campus radio station, WRAS, on the shooting spree of 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer, who fired at children playing in a school playground across the street from her home in San Diego, California. She killed two adults and injured eight children and one police officer. Spencer showed no remorse for her crime, and her full explanation for her actions was "I don't like Mondays, this livens up the day." The song was first performed less than a month later at the Fox Theatre, San Diego. Geldof explained how he wrote the song:
"I was doing a radio interview in Atlanta with Fingers and there was a telex machine beside me. I read it as it came out. Not liking Mondays as a reason for doing somebody in is a bit strange. I was thinking about it on the way back to the hotel, and I just said 'Silicone chip inside her head had switched to overload'. I wrote that down. And the journalists interviewing her said, 'Tell me why?' It was such a senseless act. It was the perfect senseless act and this was the perfect senseless reason for doing it. So perhaps I wrote the perfect senseless song to illustrate it. It wasn't an attempt to exploit tragedy.
The school shooting on Columbine High Click here
Groupwork on Columbine high:
Exercice for group 1 + 4
Exercice for group 2 + 5
Exercice for group 3 + 6
Susan Klebold about her son's shooting on Columbine High Click here for PDF
Questions for the text, in a word document. Click here
Other school shootings in America, covered by New York Times
Danish article obout children and guns (Jyllands Posten) Klik her
#MeNext movement, after Marjory Stoneman Douglas School shooting from BBC
More about guns in the US
South Dakota governor signs bill allowing armed teachers in the classroom
US gun debate
CNN about NRA in the gun debate
New Yorkers against gunviolence
Children killed by accident
More accidential shootings