|Back to School|
Students Will Face Classrooms Thursday
A sheriff's deputy stands guard outside Columbine High School. Columbine students will attend classes at another high school by week's end. (ABCNEWS.com)
|Freshman Laura Green says It would be hard to go back but that's where we belong. (ABCNEWS.com)|
Fears That Its Not Over
We think it is very important that they are together, school superintendent Jane Hammond says. The students are saying, We want to be back together. We want to be in school. We want to be with our teachers.
Not all students feel that way, though. Some say they see no point in going back to school so quickly after the massacre, because no one will be able to concentrate on work. Others say they no longer feel schools are safe places.
I dont think they should be sending us back to school right away, says Meghan Campbell, 16, a junior. I think Thursdays too soon. Not everyones going to go. Ive talked to a lot of my friends and were scared to go back to school, because school is where it happened and how do we know it wont happen again?
Many students are particularly afraid because of an e-mail that surfaced last week warning of more deaths to come. And while investigators say they doubt the killers really sent it, that thought gives students little consolation.
I think were just all scared that something else might happen because they said its not over yet, says Sara Houy, 16, a sophomore. I know I dont want to go.
Security Is Tight
But officials say students should not worry, because security is tighter than it has ever been. All school buildings in the Jefferson County School System will have increased police patrols, as well as personnel guarding every entrance.
At Chatfield High School, students will be required to show picture identification to enter the building. Since many Columbine students left wallets behind in backpacks at the school, the state Department of Transportation is offering them duplicate drivers licenses for free.
Other high schools in the Denver area also will remain on alert this week, with increased patrols. At least three Denver high schools received bomb threats last week and the school system is sweeping all its schools for bombs and weapons. Nothing has been found so far.
Many area school districts also have reviewed crisis and disaster plans with local police and notified parents of increased security. Students will finish the school year at Chatfield and return to classes at the Columbine building in the fall.
Returning to the Scene
Columbine principal Frank DeAngelis said he spoke with several hundred students about returning to the building.
Theyre ready, they want to go back to Columbine, he says. They told me, Do not let them take Columbine away from us. Students say walking away from Columbine would be like giving in to the killers.
I want to graduate from Columbine because if I run from it thats not going to solve anything, said Laura Green, a freshman. It would be hard to go back but thats where we belong.
Not everyone agrees. A number of local organizations have starting trying to raise money to tear down the Columbine building and rebuild in a new location. They want to put up a permanent memorial where the building stands.
But officials say thats not a realistic option. They say, though, that students who dont want to return to the site of Tuesdays massacre can transfer to another school in the district.
Some students insist theyll never enter the building again, no matter what. They say doing so would only revive the sounds of the bullets ricocheting off lockers and the sights of bloodied friends.
Wed be walking in fear, says Karissa Mareum, who watched peers get shot and killed in the cafeteria.