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25 years after Columbine shooting, schools are safe despite public perception of danger

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When it comes to mass killing, April 20 is a day of infamy. On that date 25 years ago, two teenagers became arguably the most notorious school shooters in American history by gunning down a dozen classmates and one teacher at Columbine High in Littleton, Colorado.

The 1999 Columbine massacre was neither the first nor the deadliest school shooting in our nation’s past, but by all measures it’s the most significant in its impact on school policies, public attitudes and popular culture.

For the first time, the horrific drama was broadcast live. Recordings of the two assailants planning and practicing for the assault were released publicly. Regrettably, a Columbine video game, T-shirts and other cultural artifacts gave the two shooters the celebrity status they sought.

Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris fully expected to achieve fame and notoriety. As one of the assailants predicted in the so-called Columbine Basement Tapes, “I know we’re gonna have followers because we’re so (expletive) God-like.” And their influence has persisted ever since with more than 100 copycats committing or attempting to commit similar attacks at schools across America.

The Columbine effect is much wider than the occasional acts of copycats. It includes ways in which schools have been transformed in terms of security and the widespread perception of students and their parents that schools are unsafe.

Continue reading at USA Today.

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