New Jen's Horde

Monday, April 20, 2009

Columbine, 10 years later

10 years later, the real story behind Columbine
They weren't goths or loners.

The two teenagers who killed 13 people and themselves at suburban Denver's Columbine High School 10 years ago next week weren't in the "Trenchcoat Mafia," disaffected videogamers who wore cowboy dusters. The killings ignited a national debate over bullying, but the record now shows Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold hadn't been bullied - in fact, they had bragged in diaries about picking on freshmen and "fags."
Over the years, a lot of people have asked me if I homeschool because of the attack at Columbine, and other school shootings. The answer is not that simple. We'd been considering homeschooling since before we even had any kids, but I have to admit that this event was a factor in our decision.

When Columbine happened, Anya was 4 and Maya and Sage were 2. I watched the news all through the day, just not believing. This was happening right here in town, in a "good" school, in the district both Davin and I had graduated from.

(To make things weirder, I'd also attended the middle school right next door to Platte Canyon High School, so I turned on the TV not long ago and saw another school related to me being evacuated.)

Of all the horrible things that happened the day of the Columbine shootings, the one that pierced me the most was seeing all the parents waiting outside the school looking for their child throughout the day. The police were releasing the kids in waves, and as each group came out there would be a spate of happy reunions, then those parents would scoop up their kids and leave. Everyone else would wait for the next wave, hoping.

Late in the day, they said that no more kids would be coming out. All of the parents still standing outside KNEW there was no hope, and that there was nothing left to do but go home. Without their children.

That was the thought that nearly killed me. I couldn't imagine how it must feel to know your baby was not only dead, but had died afraid and confused, and you couldn't be there even after the fact.

As I said, I had already been thinking about homeschooling by then; Columbine merely helped me make up my mind.

I know that school shootings are mercifully rare. Besides, people get mowed down at McDonald's, which puts my family in grave danger (if the food doesn't kill us first!) My kids could be involved in a violent encounter anywhere, it doesn't have to be in a school.

But, I think that since I'm with my kids a far larger percentage of the time than if they were in school, we'd most likely face any danger together. Davin and I wouldn't be with those scared, hurting parents standing outside the building, wondering if our kids were coming out or not. That, among a million other blessings, make all the sacrifices involved with homeschooling worth it for me.

Labels: , ,

Very moving, Jen. I remember Columbine like it was yesterday. I had an appt. at the ob/gyn (Sarah was born a month later) and listening to the whole thing on the radio made me burst into tears. Like you, it was one of the things that made us want to homeschool and for those reasons. I just never articulated them that way. My major thought was that no one was going to try to save my babies from a nutcase more than I was, so they may as well be home with me.

I didn't immediately yank Sarah out of school, but I did immediately go into her school and demand to know about their contingency plans if such a thing occurred. The principal met with me and discussed it. It was ok, but there were still kindergartners threatening to bring guns to school.

I just can't imagine. And I don't want to. It's hard to believe that it's been 10 years.
Like you I had been considering homeschooling before I had my child. I wanted my child to have the best education that I could give.
My DD was 1year and 5 days old. I sat glued to the TV with DH watching it all unfold, thinking almost immediately "There is NO WAY my baby is going to school!"
Once we got to Korea a few months later, I was exposed again to families who were homeschooling. So I started researching and made my decision.

Thank you and S for creating this wonderful community that I'm so happy to be a part of. We now have more socialization than we know what to do with it. :D
That was such a tragic, heartbreaking, and innocence-shattering day...

I made the decision to homeschool shortly after Columbine... it was not the main factor driving my decision, but it was definitely on my mind.

It IS hard to believe it's been 10 years, but in another way it seems like there never was a time before Columbine.

It's a sad day...
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?