Still Learning 10 Years Later

I recently attended an event highlighting the progress in school security that resulted from the Columbine tragedy. It also covered how the press, first responders and campus officials inadvertently disseminated misinformation about the incident.

The March/April issue of Campus Safety explored the changes in campus safety that have occurred in the decade since the terrible and devastating attack at Columbine High School. Research by Executive Editor Robin Gray and contributions by readers of Campus Safety demonstrated that significant improvements in school safety, security and emergency preparedness have transpired since April 20, 1999. While considerable work remains to be done, much has been achieved. 

Just how far K-12 campuses have come in the past 10 years was discussed at Colorado Rising, a day-long event held March 20 in Denver. Participating was an emotionally difficult, yet rewarding experience for many school safety experts, parents of children killed in school violence, Columbine survivors, authors, members of the press and many others who had assembled for the meeting.

Survivors Focus on Progress
During a press conference at the Denver Press Club, almost every member of the panel emphasized the importance of affecting positive change from the 1999 event. The father of Rachel Scott – the first student killed in the attack – emphasized the importance of creating good out of the tragedy. He has developed a phenomenal program that has already reached more than one million students in the United States and Australia. He hastens to point out that his daughter has fulfilled her dream of touching the lives of millions.

Andrew Robinson, who released his movie April Showers this spring, spoke of his experiences as a student at the school on the day of the attack and how his movie has been impacting students who previewed it. He also emphasized the importance of moving forward with positive outcomes from that fateful day.

The final activity of Colorado Rising was a private screening of Robinson’s powerful movie. He focused on helping people understand the viewpoint of students at the school rather than on the killers. This is yet another example of students rising to the challenge to address campus violence.

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About the Author


Michael Dorn serves as the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a global non profit campus safety center. During his 30 year campus safety career, Michael has served as a university police officer, corporal, sergeant and lieutenant. He served as a school system police chief for ten years before being appointed the lead expert for the nation's largest state government K-20 school safety center. The author of 25 books on school safety, his work has taken him to Central America, Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia, South Africa and the Middle East. Michael welcomes comments, questions or requests for clarification at Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers and contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety magazine.

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