Columbine High to close school every anniversary of shooting

April 05, 2005|By DENVER POST

LITTLETON, Colo. - As long as Frank DeAngelis is principal at Columbine High School, classes will not be held on the anniversary of the deadliest school shooting in America.

"I decided April 20 will be a day classes will not be held," DeAngelis said. "As long as I'm principal here, we will use that day as a work day for teachers."

Students will always stay home.

The school has used staff development days before as a way for students to take the day off on the anniversary. After deciding last week not to have class again this year, DeAngelis chose to make it an annual rite.

"It will be an opportunity for the Columbine High School community to remember the 13 precious lives that were lost that day," DeAngelis said. "I really felt it would be in the students' best interest not to have school on that day."

Two Columbine students shot and killed 12 students and one teacher almost six years ago. DeAngelis, who has been at the school 27 years, announced on Friday his decision to keep students away, and a letter is being mailed to parents this week.

Even if classes were scheduled for April 20, attendance probably would be less than 50 percent, said school district spokesman Rick Kaufman.

Last week, DeAngelis asked student senate members how many had brothers or sisters in the school during the tragedy. Kaufman said about 30 hands went up, "which shows how very close that experience is for a number of current students."

And while classrooms will be empty this year, no public observances have been scheduled either.

"Certainly, it's in line with what I assumed would happen, that after the fifth anniversary, there wouldn't be the same attention," said Tom Mauser, father of slain student Daniel Mauser.

"I don't view it as people not acknowledging that day," Mauser said. "We have plenty of reminders."

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