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Secret Service asks schools to stay alert

Students who came to school with a plan to shoot others often told other kids about it, aired their grievances, and left clues that could have been used to prevent the attacks, a Secret Service review of school shootings found. The service examined 37 cases since 1974 in hopes of encouraging educators to look more closely at what students say and how they behave. The review found that in most targeted attacks, signs of trouble were very apparent. But the report warned against profiling students, saying that school shooters had been both popular and unpopular, high and low achievers, and came from foster care, as well as from intact families.

Cybercrime is no exception, FBI says

FBI agents are spreading the word that parents and teachers should educate young people better about cybercrimes, such as hacking and vandalism, and inform them they can be costly and as criminal as mailbox bashing or graffiti spraying. A recent survey found that 48 percent of elementary- and middle-school students don't consider hacking illegal. The Justice Department and Information Technology Association of America launched a program to encourage adults to tell kids that computer crimes like software piracy, online cheating, or music and book copyright violations are equal to old-fashioned wrongdoing. The effort includes seminars for teachers, classroom materials, and a Web site with resources for parents.

Grading candidates' vocabulary

As you watch the third round of presidential debates tonight, you might want to keep a thesaurus handy. The Princeton Review calculated the grade levels at which candidates spoke during both the presidential and vice-presidential debates, using a test that measures the education level required to understand reading material. Sen. Joseph Lieberman used the brainiest language of the four candidates, speaking near a ninth-grade level at 9.2. His speech included words like "rhetoric" and "aspirations." George W. Bush spoke at a grade level of 6.7, showing a fondness for the word "fuzzy." Al Gore, who preferred "squander," spoke at the 7.9 grade level. Dick Cheney was at 8.5, using words like "convene."

ATTENTION college students. Interested in writing for us?

We are always looking for college students to write for our "On Campus" column. To contribute a column, e-mail Stacy Teicher at: Or, write to The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA, 02115.

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