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What Happened To The Girl From The Song I Don'T Like Mondays?

What Happened To The Girl From The Song I Don’T Like Mondays?

The Tragic Story Behind “I Don’t Like Mondays”

The Tragic Story Behind “I Don’t Like Mondays”

Overview of the 1979 Cleveland Elementary School Shooting

On January 29, 1979, a devastating event unfolded at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California, which resulted in the deaths of two school officials and injuries to eight children and a police officer. The perpetrator, 16-year-old Brenda Spencer, who lived just across the street from the school, carried out the attack using a semi-automatic .22 caliber rifle. Charged as an adult, Spencer pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon, leading to a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

The incident not only shocked the local community but also had a broader cultural impact. A chilling detail that emerged was Spencer’s motive; when asked by a reporter why she committed such a heinous act, she infamously responded, “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.” This statement became the inspiration for the Boomtown Rats’ song “I Don’t Like Mondays.”

Background of Brenda Spencer

Brenda Ann Spencer was born on April 3, 1962, in San Diego, California, to parents who later divorced amid tumultuous circumstances. Following the separation, Spencer lived with her father in conditions that were far from ideal; their home was described as cluttered and neglected. Reports from her parole hearings later revealed claims of neglect and abuse, which painted a grim picture of her upbringing. Despite these challenges, Spencer showed potential in other areas, such as photography, winning a competition organized by the Humane Society.

However, her academic and social life seemed troubled. Spencer expressed disdain towards law enforcement and had previously mentioned wanting to do something significant to gain media attention. Her psychological state was further complicated by reports of depression and a diagnosed temporal lobe injury, which was attributed to a bicycle accident.

Details of the Shooting

The shooting began on a seemingly ordinary Monday morning when Spencer opened fire on students and faculty as they gathered outside the school. Principal Burton Wragg and custodian Mike Suchar were killed while attempting to protect the students. Spencer’s shooting spree, which involved firing at children and responding police officers, lasted until the police intervened by blocking her line of sight and negotiating her surrender with the promise of a meal.

This act of violence was one of the earliest school shootings to capture national attention in the United States, highlighting issues of gun control, school safety, and the treatment of juvenile offenders in the legal system.

Imprisonment and Parole Hearings

Following her arrest, Spencer was sentenced to an indeterminate life sentence, making her eligible for parole hearings starting in 1993. During these hearings, Spencer made various claims about her motives and state of mind during the shooting, including allegations of abuse by her father. However, these claims were met with skepticism by the parole board due to their late disclosure.

Despite several parole hearings, Spencer remains incarcerated, with repeated denials of her suitability for release. Her case continues to be a point of reference in discussions about parole reform and the rehabilitation of offenders who committed crimes as juveniles.

Cultural Impact and Legacy

The phrase “I don’t like Mondays” transcended the incident itself, becoming immortalized in the Boomtown Rats’ song, which captured the senselessness of the violence and the search for meaning in tragedy. The song reached number one on the UK charts and became a lasting part of pop culture, though it also attracted controversy for its association with the crime.

The legacy of the shooting extends beyond the song. It prompted discussions on school safety, gun control laws, and the treatment of mental health issues, particularly concerning young offenders. The impact of this event is a poignant reminder of the need for comprehensive strategies to prevent such tragedies in the future.


  • What happened to Brenda Spencer?
    As of 2024, Brenda Spencer remains incarcerated, having been denied parole multiple times.
  • Why did Brenda Spencer say she didn’t like Mondays?
    Spencer’s remark about disliking Mondays was her response when asked about her motive for the shooting, implying a sense of boredom or dissatisfaction with life.
  • What was the outcome of the shooting?
    The shooting resulted in the deaths of two adults and injuries to nine others, including eight children.
  • Has Brenda Spencer shown remorse for her actions?
    During parole hearings, Spencer has expressed various feelings and explanations about her actions, but there has been a consistent debate about her sincerity and remorse.
  • What changes did the shooting provoke in terms of school safety?
    The incident contributed to an increased focus on school safety protocols and discussions about gun control laws in the United States.
  • Is “I Don’t Like Mondays” still associated with the shooting?
    Yes, the song is still closely linked to the shooting due to its origins and the notoriety of the event.

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