The Columbine Shootings: The Day Our Schools Changed Forever

Although it’s been more than a decade since the Columbine Shootings took place, the impact it made on our schools will last a lifetime. Even though school violence wasn’t a new thing, a tragedy this extreme was a first and managed to make the world take a whole new look at school safety.

It was in April of 1999 that two teenagers—senior students at the school—went on a killing spree in their high school. They killed 12 students, 1 teacher and injured 21 more students before killing themselves. One of the most disturbing things about the Columbine Shootings is the planning and effort that the shooters, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris put into their plan. Their original intent was to set off explosives in the school and then shoot the students as they fled the school via the entrances that they were covering. When the bombs they placed inside the school failed to detonate, they changed plans and went instead on a shooting rampage that seemed to have no rhyme or reason to it other than to kill as many people as possible. Along with using various guns during the massacre they also continued to throw explosives, some of which detonated and others that did not.

After the shootings the world started to question why. Everyone wondered why two teens would something so heinous and violent. It seemed to come out of nowhere—that is until they did some more investigating into the time leading up to the tragedy and found dozens of warning signs that should have tipped people off to the fact that these boys were dangerous. Investigators found things such as personal websites and blogs where they posted instructions on how to make explosives. The site also included video of the two practicing shooting. It was also found that the mother of another teen they had been posting information about on their website had filed numerous complaints about the shooters, insisting that they were dangerous. It was also noted by students that the shooters were not very well known or popular within the school and that they were often made fun of and ridiculed by other students. And, one of the teens had been seeing a psychiatrist for depression, suicidal thoughts, anger and more and was placed on antidepressants as a result. These sorts of warning signs shouldn’t have gone unnoticed, but sadly they did.

Since the Columbine Shootings some notable changes have been made in our schools. The tragedy resulted in the creation and implementation of stricter gun laws, anti-bullying policies, metal detectors and video cameras in schools and more. More awareness was also raised about the warning signs in students that could indicate a problem, like a fascination with violence, signs of depression and anger issues and an inability or willingness to socialize with others properly.