On the morning of April 27, 1966, in a social studies class at Bay Shore High School on Long Island, James Arthur Frampton had words with two African-American students. There was an arrangement to fight after school at 3:00pm. 16 year old Frampton, who lived just minutes from the school, slipped out sometime after 2:00pm to go home to retrieve his Mossberg bolt-action 20 gauge shotgun, loaded it with three shells and prepared to commit murder.
Frampton returned back to school to settle his grievances. He slowly scanned the halls, all three of them while looking into classrooms and yelling out the names of his two challengers. There was very little panic, no precedence, and no protocol. There was an announcement over the public address system from the assistant principal. He created a diversion by announcing that the buses were delayed and that all students remain in their homerooms. But most of the students, unaware of what was going on in the school, were already boarding the school buses to go home. Then another announcement ordered the students to get off the buses and return to their homerooms. Now there was confusion, panic and fear.
Language teacher, 48 year old John S. Lane, did not obey the announcement. He was a man, according to witness testimony, that was known to have a loud, rough and authoritative voice, left his homeroom. In the hallway, as Frampton passed, Lane abruptly stated “Hey boy, what are you doing with that gun? Give it to me.” Frampton turned and fired one round of #6 pellets into Lane’s abdomen, he was propelled back against the hallway locker and lay wounded. This incident was the first and only school shooting between a student and a teacher in Suffolk County and Frampton became the first child to be tried as an adult. He was sentenced to thirty years to life, however, it is not known how his sentence was commuted to life on parole, however he did violate parole numerous times.
Filmmaker and researcher Thomas Santorelli traces the life of James Frampton in this comprehensive never-before told story. From his roots in Kentucky, his move to Bay Shore, New York with his abusive and alcoholic parents, in a house with no hot water, heat, telephone and very little food. The Frampton home was located in a neighborhood known for alcohol addiction, abject poverty and even incest.
Framton’s family tragedies are explored including the tragedy that took his own life and recounted by police, the Suffolk County District Attorney, witnesses and supported by police and court records.
This film is scheduled to finish production at the end of 2017.