COMEBACK KIDS: COLUMBINE HIGH : STUDENTS ENTER COLORADO SCHOOL AMID APPLAUSE.Byline: Paul Pringle The Dallas Morning News
They tried a pep rally, a new song, a flag raising, a ribbon cutting and even a human chain. But nothing Monday could have made the first day of classes at Columbine High School Columbine High School is a secondary school in unincorporated Jefferson County, Colorado. The school is located at 6201 South Pierce Street, one mile west of the Littleton city limits and half a mile south of the Denver city/county line. the innocent occasion it used to be.
``It was different,'' said senior Bijen Monte, 17, blinking back tears. ``It wasn't like my old school. . . . I think the memories will always be there.''
The memories are of the April 20 shooting and bombing rampage in which Columbine columbine, in botany
columbine (kŏl`əmbīn), any plant of the genus Aquilegia, temperate-zone perennials of the family Ranunculaceae (buttercup family), popular both as wildflowers and as garden flowers. seniors Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris Eric Harris may refer to:
``It's like going back to any school, except you still have those thoughts in your head,'' said freshman Emily Baird, 14, during the lunch break. ``You think, This school got blown up.''
The Columbine community worked hard to keep the reopening upbeat and focused on the future. The morning began with several hundred parents and alumni joining hands on the sidewalks outside the campus in a chain meant to symbolically shield the 2,000 arriving students.
The ``Take Back Our School'' rally featured the debut of a Columbine alma mater composed by Frank Ticheli Frank Ticheli (born Jan 21, 1958 in Monroe, Louisiana) is an American composer of orchestral, choral, chamber, and concert band works. He lives in Los Angeles, California, where he is a Professor of Composition at the University of Southern California. , an associate music professor at the University of Southern California The U.S. News & World Report ranked USC 27th among all universities in the United States in its 2008 ranking of "America's Best Colleges", also designating it as one of the "most selective universities" for admitting 8,634 of the almost 34,000 who applied for freshman admission . The song's signature lyric, ``We are Columbine,'' echoed the slogan emblazoned on countless T-shirts, banners and bumper stickers across the campus Monday.
``We have prevailed!'' student President Mike Sheehan shouted during the rally, which got under way just as the sun climbed above the Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains, major mountain system of W North America and easternmost belt of the North American cordillera, extending more than 3,000 mi (4,800 km) from central N.Mex. to NW Alaska; Mt. Elbert (14,431 ft/4,399 m) in Colorado is the highest peak. . ``We have overcome! . . . Welcome home, Rebels!''
Raising the flags
The rally's high point was the raising of the school's flags, which had been at half-staff since the killings. As the standards inched up the pole, the students chanted and cheered.
``You made me make a promise that I would not allow anyone or anything to take our school,'' Principal Frank DeAngelis told the crowd. ``Today I am fulfilling that promise.''
Later in his remarks, DeAngelis called for ``zero tolerance'' of any insulting, degrading or isolating behavior. The principal's target was campus cliques. The killers had belonged to a group of school misfits known as the Trench Coat Mafia.
``We must have respect for one another,'' DeAngelis said.
He also suggested the students tug their ear as a signal of sympathy whenever they encounter a classmate in emotional distress emotional distress n. an increasingly popular basis for a claim of damages in lawsuits for injury due to the negligence or intentional acts of another. Originally damages for emotional distress were only awardable in conjunction with damages for actual physical harm. .
An alumni group then cut a giant blue and gold ribbon - Columbine's colors - at the main entrance, and the students streamed in while staff members applauded. Among those returning were most of the 23 students who were wounded.
A $1.2 million renovation of Columbine's plaster and green glass buildings erased the outward reminders of the carnage: the bullet holes, bomb burns and bloodstains. There are new stairways, ceilings and floors. Fresh coats of paint cover the walls. Outside the library, the room in which most of the killing was done, plantings of mature shrubbery line the rebuilt steps.
The library has been emptied and walled off, masked by banks of blue lockers. The school has yet to figure out what to do with it. The lockers once assigned to Eric and Dylan remain latched and out of use.
The school has tightened security, as have other Colorado campuses. All Columbine students were issued ID badges to enter the school Monday. Armed guards now patrol the grounds around the clock. Extra security cameras have been installed inside and outside.
School officials concede that none of those measures would have necessarily prevented the April slaughter. They are still considering whether to post metal detectors at the doors, although students and parents have expressed misgivings about turning Columbine into a prison.
There have been gentler changes at the campus. The school has established a ``safe room'' where students still tormented by the shootings can seek counseling. Few found the need to do so Monday, said Jefferson County Jefferson County is the name of 25 counties and one parish in the United States. The following are named for Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States:
``The kids are excited to be back,'' she said. ``Their spirits are very high.''
Some parents criticized Monseu and other officials for not offering a tribute to the victims Monday. ``That's a slap in the face,'' Rich Patrone told reporters. His 15-year-old stepson step·son
A spouse's son by a previous union.
a son of one's husband or wife by an earlier relationship
Noun 1. , Daniel Rohrbough, was killed. ``They didn't even take a moment of silence.''
Monseu said the school would honor the victims in a variety of ceremonies throughout the term. ``Our focus today was to just (get) started,'' she added.
Time to move on
Students agreed that it was time to move on, and many complained of mourning fatigue. But the names of the dead were never far from their lips. They remembered Rachel Scott Rachel Joy Scott (August 5 1981 – April 20 1999) was the first victim of the Columbine High School massacre, which claimed the lives of 12 students and a teacher, along with the two perpetrators, in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. , Cassie Bernall Cassie Bernall (November 6, 1981 – April 20, 1999) was a student killed in the Columbine High School massacre.
Initial reports suggested that one of the assailants, either Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold, asked Bernall if she believed in God moments before fatally , Isaiah Shoels, the popular business teacher Dave Sanders - who bled to death in a science room - and all the others.
``I worked with Rachel at the Subway,'' said Bijen, who left campus Monday for lunch at Carl's Jr. down the street. She recalled fleeing the gunfire near the cafeteria.
``I saw some things . . .,'' she said, her voice catching.
Senior Michael Pepper, 18, said he couldn't help but think of his friend, Corey DePooter, when he walked passed the wall hiding the library. Corey, 17, was shot to death on the library floor.
``I was excited about coming back, but it was sad knowing what happened in there,'' said Michael. He added that he is determined to stay positive. ``I'm the oldest in my group of friends, so I have to be there for them.''
An update on some of the most seriously wounded students on the day classes resumed at Columbine High School:
RICHARD CASTALDO, 17, remained at Craig Hospital on Monday but is expected to be released later this week. He was shot eight times, suffering a spinal cord injury Spinal Cord Injury Definition
Spinal cord injury is damage to the spinal cord that causes loss of sensation and motor control.
Approximately 10,000 new spinal cord injuries (SCIs) occur each year in the United States. that left him without feeling from the waist down. He was also severely wounded in the left arm. He intends to return to Columbine this fall.
ANNE MARIE Marie (mərē`), 1875–1938, queen of Romania, consort of Ferdinand. The daughter of Alfred, duke of Edinburgh and of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, she was the granddaughter of Czar Alexander II of Russia and of Queen Victoria of England. HOCHHALTER, 17, was released from Craig Hospital on Thursday but continues to undergo rehabilitation. She took a direct hit in her spinal cord spinal cord, the part of the nervous system occupying the hollow interior (vertebral canal) of the series of vertebrae that form the spinal column, technically known as the vertebral column. that left her paralyzed par·a·lyze
tr.v. par·a·lyzed, par·a·lyz·ing, par·a·lyz·es
1. To affect with paralysis; cause to be paralytic.
2. To make unable to move or act: paralyzed by fear. from the waist down. She intends to return to Columbine to finish out her senior year but has not set a date.
SEAN n. 1. A seine. See Seine. GRAVES, 15, who suffered a spinal cord injury after a bullet nicked his spine, has some feeling below the waist and can walk with the help of a walker and a therapist. He plans to return to Columbine this fall.
PATRICK IRELAND, 17, the student who pulled himself out of a second-floor library window during the attack, is undergoing daily outpatient treatment at Craig. He was shot twice in the head and suffered a brain injury. He is receiving speech and physical therapy. He returned to school Monday.
LANCE KIRKLIN, 16, returned to Columbine on Monday. He suffered five gunshot wounds; a shotgun blast tore away much of the left side of his face. He will undergo reconstructive surgery reconstructive surgery
n surgery to rebuild a structure for functional or esthetic reasons. at least four more times.
SOURCE: Associated Press
3 Photos, Box
Photo: (1--Color) Columbine students cheer Principal Frank DeAngelis after his speech during a rally before classes.
Eric Gay/Associated Press
(2--Color) A human chain stands outside the high school.
(3) Student Pat Ireland, center right, the shooting victim who jumped out the window, returns Monday.
George Kochaniec/Associated Press
Box: COLUMBINE UPDATE (See text)