Newspaper clippings · School Violence · Utah

Several boys imitating Western star shoot teacher in foot during school festival

April 12, 1919
Ogden, Utah
A group of boys at a school festival fire guns at the feet of spectators, wounding a teacher

The boys reportedly had asked permission to fire their guns, though miscommunication between the students and school authorities led to live rounds being used. The judge presiding over the trial blamed silent-era Western movie star Bill Hart for the incident, claiming the boys wanted to emulate the actor.

The boys were brought to trial, with five pleading guilty while a sixth pleaded not guilty. The Ogden Standard (April 26, 1919) reported “The court was impressed by the manly manner in which the boys stated their cases, showing a willingness to take whatever punishment might be meted our to them by the operation of the law.”

The boys who entered the guilty plea stated they were given permission to use the guns, unaware of a city ordinance prohibiting the firing of firearms within the city. They were each given 6 months probation, punishment for firing the guns rather than wounding the teacher as it was not determined who had fired that particular shot. The sixth was found not guilty.


Clipping: The Ogden Standard (Ogden, Utah) Apr 21 1919

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