Columbine’s DeAngelis Says Those Affected By Shooting Will Need Patience
LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) – Columbine High School Principal Frank DeAngelis says it will take time and patience for people to move forward after last week’s Arapahoe High School shooting.
DeAngelis was Columbine’s principal in 1999 when Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris went on a shooting spree inside the school and killed 12 students and one teacher.
Like with Columbine, the shooting at Arapahoe High will have lasting effects on the student body.
“I just can’t even grasp the fact that this has happened, I’m speechless,” one Arapahoe student, Sami Tolman, said.
Getting back to any kind of routine will be a challenge.
“You have to redefine what normal is, it will never be normal again,” said DeAngelis.
DeAngelis knows the days to come for Arapahoe High School students and staff will be tough.
“Not only do the kids need (help) but the teachers need it also they need a support system in place because they experienced the same thing,” said DeAngelis.
DeAngelis said the traumatic experience of hearing the gunshots inside the school might be brought back by unexpected things, and changing lesson plans might even be necessary.
“One of things that we learned very early on is if social studies teachers wanted to show a video clip of World War II and there was gunfire or large sounds that would trigger emotion,” said DeAngelis.
He says school leaders will quickly learn each student is different and there’s not one solution for every problem.
“You’re going to have some kids that want to get right back to the algebra, or geometry or history and you’re going to have others that are going to need some additional help,” said DeAngelis.
Earlier this year DeAngelis announced his plans to retire as principal of Columbine High School at the end of this school year.
The students at Arapahoe won’t return to the building until after winter break.
WEB EXTRA VIDEO: Former Columbine Principal Frank DeAngelis On Arapahoe High Shooting