Presentation on theme: "Columbine: 10 Years Later What They Experienced, What We Can Learn Presented by the editors of American School Board Journal and the American School Counselor."— Presentation transcript:
Columbine: 10 Years Later What They Experienced, What We Can Learn Presented by the editors of American School Board Journal and the American School Counselor Association Columbine: 10 Years Later What They Experienced, What We Can Learn Presented by the editors of American School Board Journal and the American School Counselor Association
Columbine On the morning of April 20, 1999, two students walked into Columbine High School. They were carrying an arsenal of automatic weapons. One hour later, 12 students were dead and a teacher was fatally wounded. The shooters — Columbine seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold — committed suicide in the school’s library. Ten years later, Columbine is still the deadliest crime ever committed in an American K-12 school.
This Month in ASBJ May’s edition of American School Board Journal features an oral history of the Columbine tragedy, compiled and edited by Kathleen Vail. The article will be available soon on the ASBJ website at and at the ASCA website:
Today’s Speakers Jane Hammond, former superintendent, Jefferson County Public Schools Sandy Austin, counselor, Jefferson County Public Schools Rick Kaufman, former public information officer Jane Barnes, member and former president, Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education
What We Asked Our Speakers to Address What stands out most to you about that day and the days after? Is there anything you wish you had known beforehand that would have helped you to do your job better? What lessons do you hope that the webinar's viewers/ listeners would take from today's session?
Facts According to a 2002 report by the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education, school shooters follow no set profile. Most, however, were depressed and felt like they were being persecuted. Also, they usually tell other kids about their plans. Over the past 10 years, more than 80 school shootings have occurred in the U.S., according to Dave Cullen’s new book, Columbine. However, as Cullen reports, "no significant national gun-control legislation was enacted in response” to the shootings. According to a 2008 study in the Yale Law and Policy Review, at least eight states have passed new laws that give residents the right to carry concealed handguns or changed the law to make it more difficult to deny gun permits.
Speaker: Jane Hammond Jane Hammond is the former superintendent of Colorado’s Jefferson County Public Schools, the largest school district in the state with 85,000 students. She left the district in 2002 to work for the Stupski Foundation and now runs her own consulting firm, Results-Based Systems. While in Jefferson County, Hammond was cited for leadership that resulted in significant increases in student achievement, community support for the district, improved staff morale, and teacher satisfaction. She helped the district attain ISO 9000 Certification and worked with the school board to implement policy governance. Now as a consultant, Hammond works in long-term relationships with school districts on district transformation and improvement.
From the ASBJ story… Strangers come up and tell me, ‘I know where I was that day.’ That is monumental. Usually when people talk about it, I remember I was in fourth grade when JFK died, and we sat down and prayed the rosary. It’s hard to comprehend; we became a piece of history. Principal Frank DeAngelis Columbine High School
Speaker: Sandy Austin Sandy Austin is a school counselor at Jefferson County’s Green Mountain High School. She responded to the tragedy at Columbine on April 20 and counseled in the drop-in center and Columbine feeder schools throughout the week after the tragedy. The summer after the shootings, she also worked at Ken Caryl Middle School and the S.H.O.U.T.S. teen center in the Columbine community for two days a week. Austin has written three books and numerous articles and has presented workshops across the country on crisis response. Among other leadership positions, she has served twice as the president of the Colorado School Counselor Association. Last fall, CSCA named Austin as the “High School Counselor of the Year” for the state of Colorado.
Facts No federal data is available on how many school shooting attempts have been foiled over the past decade, but the number of rampage-style attacks has decreased significantly. One reason, experts say, is because more students are taking their classmates’ threats seriously and reporting them to adults. Girls are more likely to report threats, research shows, and far less likely to pull the trigger. Since 1974, only one girl has participated in a non-gang related school shooting. Jeff Daniels, a counseling psychologist at West Virginia University, says schools that foiled rampage killings share a few key qualities: informal, respectful contact between staff and students; students knowing they could turn to an adult if danger surfaced; staff taking rumors seriously; and anti-bullying programs with staff training.
Speaker: Rick Kaufman Rick Kaufman, the former executive director of communications for Jefferson County Public Schools, now serves executive director of community relations for Minnesota’s Bloomington Public Schools, where he is responsible for directing the district’s communications and community relations programs. A nationally respected consultant on crisis management and communications, media relations, and community engagement, he now serves as Bloomington’s chief spokesperson and communications counsel to the superintendent, school board, and the district’s leadership team. Kaufman was one of the first school personnel to arrive at Columbine after the attack began. He was responsible for coordinating all aspects of the communications program, including chief spokesperson, media relations, community response and recovery efforts. Since Columbine, he has provided media relations and crisis management counsel and training to numerous state and federal agencies. He also is the author of the newly revised Crisis Communications and Management Manual published by the National School Public Relations Association in 2009.
‘Communication Changes’ When the unthinkable happens, school districts without a full- time public relations professional to advise them are at a distinct disadvantage. In the post-Columbine era, sound communications counsel is as vital to school and district success as academic and legal counsel. Wise communicators know that it only takes one misstep during a crisis to destroy a lifetime of trust. by Nora Carr, ASBJ columnist and 25-year school PR professional, April 2009
Speaker: Jane Barnes Jane Barnes is currently serving on the Jefferson County Board of Education where she served as president for four years. On the board since 2003, she also is past president of the Colorado Association of School Boards. In her board role, Barnes has helped the district navigate many of the issues resulting from the Columbine tragedy. Believing that education and workplace success are intertwined, Jane serves as the chair of the Tri-County Workforce Investment Board and was recently appointed by Governor Ritter to serve on the Colorado Workforce Development Council. Barnes also is the manager of senior programs for St. Anthony Hospitals where she has planned, developed, and implemented many community outreach programs to benefit older adults.
From the ASBJ story… We are a completely different district than we were 10 years ago. We’ve had huge turnover in 10 years. Many teachers have retired and there’s been a lot of turnover in leadership staff. Lots of people don’t remember Columbine as a personal experience — historical, but not personal. You go into Columbine and see memories of the children, but the children there now are a new generation. We have a different staff and focus. But Columbine will always be at our core. — Cindy Stevenson, Current Superintendent
American School Board Journal is the award-winning, editorially independent education magazine published monthly by the National School Boards Association. Founded in 1891, ASBJ chronicles change, interprets issues, and offers readers practical advice on a broad range of topics pertinent to school governance and management, policy making, student achievement, and school leadership. For more information on the magazine, visit About
The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) helps approximately 25,000 school counselors guide their students toward academic achievement, personal and social development, and career planning to help today’s students become tomorrow’s productive, contributing members of society. ASCA developed The National Standards for School Counseling Programs and the ASCA National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs, which provide guidelines for designing and implementing comprehensive, developmental school counseling programs. ASCA also maintain ethics standards for school counselors and position statements addressing a variety of issues. For more information about ASCA, visit About the