Columbine's 10th Anniversary
By Kathleen Vail
On April 20, 1999, two young men left their middle-class suburban Colorado homes, intent on murdering their classmates and teachers before blowing up the building. Hours later, 12 students, one teacher, and the two shooters were dead. More were injured.
It has been 10 years since the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history occurred at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. It was a day, as school safety expert Ronald Stephens describes it, that will be remembered as education’s 9/11.
For school leaders, Columbine symbolizes the worst imaginable because it made us realize horrific violence could happen on our campuses. For those who were there—people like you who woke up that April morning expecting another typical day at work—Columbine is more than a symbol. It is their community and their school. It is a tragedy that changed their lives forever.
To mark the anniversary, ASBJ interviewed school administrators and leaders who were in charge of the Jefferson County School District that day. We asked them to give their accounts of the tragedy and how they worked to rebuild and heal in the aftermath.
Here, in their words, is what happened:
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