Twelve years ago today, two high school students in suburban Littleton, Colo., killed 12 students, one teacher, and themselves in a tragedy that rocked the United States, striking fear into the hearts of high school students and their parents nationwide as they asked themselves: Could this happen here?
Columbine High School is closed to students today in memory of the victims who died in the April 20, 1999, attack, which was the deadliest school shooting until a student at Virginia Tech killed 33 people on campus in 2007. [See what happened this week in history.]
On the 10 year anniversary of the Columbine shooting, consulting firm National School Safety and Security Services released a report suggesting schools are safer, but not out of the woods. “In general, our nation’s schools today have a higher level of awareness of safety issues and preparedness for emergencies than they did prior to April 1999,” wrote Kenneth Trump, the company’s president. “The bad news is that much of the progress made in the months and early years following the Columbine incident has stalled and even slipped backward in recent years.”
This backslide is due in part to budgetary issues and pulled funds for safety and drug-free schools programs, Trump writes in the 2009 report. And with many states facing fiscal crises and cutting down school budgets to make ends meet, those funds could be even scarcer now.
But the tragedy in Columbine did lead to more security cameras, stricter visitor policies, and better emergency planning and drills at many secondary schools across the nation.
What do you think? Are high schools safer since the Columbine shooting? Take the poll and post your thoughts below.
--Mallie Jane Kim
Previously: Will the U.S. lose AAA credit rating?