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Parents of school killer say son was bullied

Anniversary of Jokela school shootings this week

Parents of school killer say son was bullied
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The parents of Pekka-Eric Auvinen came out in public on Wednesday. Tomorrow will be the first anniversary of the tragedy in which Auvinen brought a gun to his school in Jokela and opened fire, killing eight others and taking his own life.
     The parents, Ismo Auvinen and Mikaela Vuorio spoke openly about the events of the day of the killings on a current affairs programme of the MTV3 television network.
     On the day of the shootings, the father, who had spent the morning with his sons, saw nothing out of the ordinary in the behaviour of Pekka-Eric.
      The father learned about the tragedy when Pekka-Eric’s classmate called to ask if Pekka or his gun were at home. “At that point, about a tonne of bricks fell on me. We knew nothing about any gun”, the father said.
A purchase receipt for the weapon and a suicide note were found in Pekka-Eric’s room shortly thereafter. “It mentioned that hopefully conditions would be better in the future for individuals, and there was the hope that nobody would have to do anything like that again. I read it and went into shock”, the father said.
     The parents had not noticed any great changes in their son. Pekka-Eric’s tendencies toward violence, and his admiration of violence came to them as a surprise.
     “Whenever we were in contact with the school, they gave only positive feedback about Pekka”, the mother said.
The parents said that their son had long been a victim of school bullying. They said that he had been tormented already in elementary school, when the family moved to Jokela from Helsinki.
     “He was attacked, thrown against the coat racks. He was also shot with a pellet gun on his way to school, and had a laser pointer pen pointed at his eyes”, the father said.
     The parents said that finally Pekka-Eric had no friends. “Summer holidays and weekends were difficult, as the boy asked: Mother, why don’t I have any friends?”, the mother recalled.
In early 2007 Pekka was diagnosed with a panic disorder and a fear of social situations. However, he was not taken into therapy. “The doctor said that this is such a mild diagnosis that there is no practical possibility of getting into therapy. Instead, he said that we should try to raise the dosage of medication”, Vuorio recalled.
     Friday this week is the first anniversary of the Jokela killings.

Previously in HS International Edition:
  Jokela: a peaceful little village thrust into world spotlight (9.11.2007)
  Gunman and eight others die in school shooting spree (8.11.2007)
  Jokela tries to get back to normal (13.11.2008)
  Local clergy help Jokela residents cope with shooting aftermath (12.11.2007)

Helsingin Sanomat

  6.11.2008 - TODAY
 Parents of school killer say son was bullied

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