Teaching Students About Amy Fisher

The Amy Fisher story captivated the attention of the American public during the early 1990s. As an infamous figure from a high-profile case, her life and actions offer valuable lessons for students today. By examining Amy Fisher’s story, educators can teach students about media ethics, personal responsibility, and the consequences of our choices.


Amy Fisher, also known as the “Long Island Lolita,” was a 17-year-old high school student who made national headlines in 1992 when she shot and severely injured Mary Jo Buttafuoco, the wife of her lover Joey Buttafuoco. Fisher ended up serving seven years in prison for her crime.

Media Ethics

One way to approach teaching about Amy Fisher is by discussing media ethics. The case received extensive coverage from both tabloid and mainstream media outlets. Students can explore how different sources reported the story, analyzing which parts were sensationalized or exploited for profit.

By examining how various media channels handled the story—such as television news programs, newspapers, and tabloid magazines—students can gain insight into the importance of responsible journalism. They can also compare contemporary coverage of similar stories to understand how media ethics has evolved or remained consistent over time.

Personal Responsibility

Amy Fisher’s story also demonstrates the concept of personal responsibility. Students can analyze Fisher’s actions, as well as those of Mary Jo and Joey Buttafuoco, to discuss how their choices impacted their lives, families, and communities.

Educators can use this case as an opportunity to teach students about making choices with potentially life-altering consequences. Discussion prompts may include questions such as: “How did Amy’s decision to pursue a relationship with an older, married man contribute to her actions?” “What role did Joey play in influencing Amy?” And “How might Mary Jo have responded differently throughout this situation?”

Examining the chain of events that led to the shooting, and their subsequent consequences highlights the importance of making thoughtful decisions and considering the potential impact on oneself and others.

Lessons Learned

Teaching students about Amy Fisher’s story comes with several important takeaways. The first is understanding the role that media plays in shaping public opinion, as well as comprehending the significance of ethical journalistic practices. Secondly, students can reflect on personal responsibility and the impact that one’s choices can have on their own lives and others.

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