Meet Sami Frank -- A Former Student at Columbine High School

Sami Frank attended Columbine High School. Attending Columbine definitely gave Sami a different high school experience. Around her, everyone had some sort of connection to the Columbine shooting. Keep reading for an inside look on what it’s really like to attend Columbine — one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

Sami said that even some of her teachers were personally affected by the shooting: “A lot of my teachers — maybe about 6-7 — were either teachers or students when it happened. One of my teachers had a friend who was killed. Everyone there has some sort of connection to it somehow.”

Sami recalled a story her her teacher told about one of the victims of the Columbine shooting. Her teacher mentioned that she would usually meet up with a friend in between classes and that they would walk together to class and sometimes the friend would go to the library instead. The day of the shooting the friend had gone to the library. Sami said, “it was really sad because, if he hadn’t just gone to the library, he probably would have survived. It’s really heartbreaking how people were just in the wrong place.”

Photo credit: FOX 31 Denver

Sami had a teacher at Columbine who would help out during other school shootings. “I had a teacher who, a lot of times when school shootings would happen, would go and help out because he had been there when it happened at Columbine. When the Sandy Hook shooting happened, he went and tried to help the teachers and the kids,” she said.

Sami said that many people did not want to have shooters viewed in a sympathetic light.

“One of the big controversies that happened is that they had crosses outside the school for all the victims, but they also had crosses for the two shooters. A lot of people were really angry that there were crosses even up for them. Eventually, they got taken down though. A lot of people don’t want to view [the shooters] as sympathetic at all; they just want to see them as monsters.”

Photo credit: Crime Scene Database

Sami said that her teacher felt very strongly about how the media focused on the bullying aspect.

“One of my teachers who was there during the shooting always hated how the media made it all about bullying and how the shooters did it because they were bullied, because it didn’t make sense to him. It didn’t make sense to a lot of people because they had shot a special needs student, a random teacher they didn’t know; it wasn’t specific. They just wanted to kill as many people as they could. So my teacher always hated how the media always made it about bullying, but now the anti-bullying thing is really important at Columbine.”

Sami said that the bullying aspect that the media focused on gave people a reason to justify what happened.

“I feel like sometimes people use the bullying because it’s kind of inconceivable how it could happen otherwise; you need some reason to be able to justify how that could happen or someone to blame.”

 

Having a new mass shooting every other week desensitizes people to what it it’s like to be affected by a mass shooting. Hopefully this inside look of the Columbine shooting gives you a more in-depth perspective of what it’s like for those affected by these tragedies.

 

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