Columbine Revisited; Overall School Crime Down


Next April will mark the fifth anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students, a teacher and themselves. Newsweek reports that today’s students say that most of the time no one at Columbine thinks about the shootings. More than 60 interviews with students and local residents “reveal a school that dwells simultaneously in its past and its present,” Newsweek says. The school repeatedly is dragged back to what is known as “4/20” or just “the tragedy.” Last week, police released a 15-minute home video showing Klebold and Harris taking target practice in the woods six weeks before they opened fire at the school. A snarl of lawsuits stemming from the case have been settled or dismissed, but five victims’ families are set to appeal an order to destroy the transcripts of the Klebold and Harris parents’ depositions. Families believe the information could help people understand how to prevent a similar tragedy. “People keep saying, ‘Well, now are you back to normal?’ But there’s never going to be normality here,” says principal Frank DeAngelis.

By some measures, crime in American schools is declining, says a new U.S. Justice Department compilation of reports. One survey says that between 1995 and 2001, the percentage of students who reported being victims of crime at school decreased from 10 percent to 6 percent.

The publication says that students age 12-18 were victims of about 1.2 million crimes of theft and 764,000 nonfatal crimes of violence or theft at school in 2001. The violent victimization rate of school students delined from 48 violent crimes per 1,000 sudents in 1992 to 28 per 1,000 students in 2001.

Data on homicides and suicides at school show 32 school-associated violent deaths in the United States between July 1, 1999 and June 30, 2000, including 24 homicides, 16 of which involved school-age children. [The year cited started shortly after the Columbine case.]


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