DENVER (CBS4) – Frank DeAngelis says he still remembers the Columbine school shooting that happened 19 years ago like it was yesterday. And he never expected he’d still be talking about school shootings in 2018.

“Every time there’s another school shooting, a reference is made to Columbine High School, and that’s painful,” the former principal of the high school told CBS4 at Thursday night’s gun control rally at Clement Park near the school.

During the rally DeAngelis read the names of the 12 students and one teacher who were killed on April 20, 1999, at his school.

(credit: CBS)

Through the pain and sadness that each new school shooting in the United States brings, DeAngelis says he’s not without hope for the future. He’s proud to see the recent swell of young students fighting for change.

Frank DeAngelis (credit: CBS)

“I love their passion. I love their heart. I love their desire,” said DeAngelis, who retired several years ago. “They’re an inspiration to all of us.”

“Now the next step … is they need to go to the polls.”

Even though many of the students who attended Thursday’s Vote For Our Lives rally are too young to vote — including the 58 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida who flew here — the message was clear: their voice matters.

“We can’t give up the fight,” DeAngelis said. “Because we’re doing this for everyone who lost their lives to school violence.”

Classes at Columbine are canceled on Friday, just as they have been every April 20 since the 1999 massacre.

RELATED: Students Begin School Walkouts On Columbine Anniversary


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