Bath disaster: 90th anniversary of the worst school attack in American history

Jim Church, 78, a Bath Township resident and member of the Bath School Museum board of directors, talks with NBC25 anchor Mike Woolfolk. (Photo: Mike Japowicz/Mike Woolfolk)

When people think about school tragedies and disasters, the massacres at Columbine High School in 1999 and Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 immediately come to mind.

Fifteen people, including the two perpetrators, died in the Columbine, Colorado incident. The Sandy Hook incident in Newtown, Connecticut left 20 young students, six staff members and the shooter dead.

As bad as the Columbine and Sandy Hook shootings were, they are not the worst school massacres to happen in the United States. That dubious distinction belongs to an incident that happened here in Michigan, 90 years ago.

Bath Township is a small community located just north of East Lansing. On May 18, 1927, 38 elementary students and six adults died when Andrew Kehoe-- a disgruntled school board member and local farmer—killed his wife, burned his farm house to the ground and detonated an explosion in the Bath Consolidated School before blowing up his truck and killing himself. To this day, the Bath incident remains the worst school massacre in American history.

Very few people know the history of the Bath massacre like Jim Church, a longtime resident and member of the Bath School Museum board of directors.

In a special report, Church shares his knowledge about the incident and walks us through the Bath School Museum, the memorial park on the school's original site and a cemetery where some of the victims now rest.

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