Sandra Lee Scheuer|
August 11, 1949
Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.
May 4, 1970 (aged 20)|
Kent, Ohio, U.S.
Scheuer was born in Youngstown, Ohio, the daughter of Sarah (Lacko) and Martin Scheuer. She had an older sister, Audrey. Her family was Jewish. She was an honors student in speech therapy, and was a graduate of Boardman High School. She did not take part in the Vietnam War protests that preceded the shootings. She was shot in the neck with an M-1 rifle from a distance of 130 yards (119 m) while walking between classes. The bullet severed her jugular vein and she died within five or six minutes from loss of blood. According to the account of Bruce Burkland, a close family friend, Scheuer "was walking with one of her speech and hearing therapy students across the green. Caught in the gunfire, neither Sandra nor the young man had anything to do with the assembly of students on the green." Three other unarmed students were also killed in the shootings: Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, and William Knox Schroeder.
The shootings led to protests and a national student strike, causing hundreds of campuses to close because of both violent and non-violent demonstrations. The Kent State campus remained closed for six weeks. Five days after the shootings, 100,000 people demonstrated in Washington, D.C., against the war.
Scheuer had been a member of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority, and current members of this sorority speak in her memory each year on the Kent State University campus at the May 4 Task Force's commemoration of the 1970 tragedy.
Just after Scheuer's death, the English songwriter Harvey Andrews composed a song titled "Hey Sandy", whose lyrics are addressed to her:
- "Did you see them turn, did you feel the burn
- Of the bullets as they flew?"
In the song "Ohio", which was written immediately after the shootings, folk rocker Neil Young made a reference to Scheuer through the eyes of Tom Grace who was walking with her to her next class. Grace was also wounded from an ankle shot. In the chorus:
- "What if you knew her,
- And found her dead on the ground?
- How can you run when you know?"
Scheuer is also remembered in Canadian poet Gary Geddes' poem "Sandra Lee Scheuer", found in his 1980 collection The Acid Test, as well as the Polaris song also called "Hey Sandy", which served as the theme song to the television series The Adventures of Pete & Pete.
- Burkland, Bruce (n.d.). Testimony on May 4 Archive website
- "Heritage Timeline - 1970". Alpha Xi Delta. http://www.alphaxi.org/heritage_timeline.asp. Retrieved 2007-08-15.
- Hey Sandy on YouTube
- Gary Geddes' "Sandra Lee Scheuer" from The Acid Test, 1980
- Gary Geddes
- Gwin, Harold (2010-04-25). "A life cut short - Sandra Scheuer". The Vindicator. http://www.vindy.com/news/2010/apr/25/life-cut-short-sandra-scheuer/. "Not long after the shooting, Harvey Andrews, a British songwriter, wrote the song, “Hey, Sandy” about her death..."
- Jedick, Peter (2006). "Rawls' Death Brings Back Sad Memory." Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), February 13, 2006, D3.
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