What parents, former students and district officials had to say looking back on Dec. 13, 2013, and what has changed since then:
How Littleton Public Schools has looked to cultivate an environment of health and help: Arapahoe High tragedy spurred change, officials and parents say
A close friend of Claire Davis talks healing, what survivors need after a shooting: ‘I definitely believe that Claire is around’
A former student who was on site during incident talks mental health, reacting to gun violence: ‘Talk about mental illness ... with anyone that will listen’
LPS superintendent talks lessons learned, what work remains to support students' mental health: ‘We’ve learned that there is so much more to do. The stress our teens feel in today’s culture is increasing’
My three daughters and I moved to Littleton from Northglenn in 2013, the year of the Arapahoe High School shooting. My oldest daughter, Izzy, started fifth grade at East Elementary, my middle daughter was in first grade, and the youngest was still a preschooler. Izzy was among the students who earned a limousine ride and a pizza lunch for reading that year.
The winners from her class piled into the limo and headed to a pizza restaurant across the street from Arapahoe High School. The kids had just finished eating and were packing up to leave when the shooting happened across the street. The restaurant was immediately surrounded by SWAT teams and police officers. The students inside knew immediately a girl at the high school had died, because every TV in the restaurant was blaring live news, and they could see everything happening out the window.
Nobody comforted them. Nobody told them they were safe. At least that’s how they remember it. The children sat in that pizza shop, staring at the high school, while the news rang from literally every corner. They sat there for nearly five hours, as I recall.
I wasn’t informed that Izzy was caught up in that situation until I picked her up after school. I had no clue that my kid was crying, terrified, surrounded by a terrifying situation with no comfort for hours on end.
I now have one child at Littleton High School, one at Goddard Middle School, and one still at East Elementary. None of them have been directly involved in a school shooting, but they all remember Claire Davis and what happened that day. And they know all about Columbine. And they don’t want to talk about the newer shootings, the ones that seem to happen weekly. They don’t seem preventable to them, because they feel adults won’t or can’t do anything to prevent it. The fear is always passively there, in every school hallway. They don’t want their teachers armed because they have seen some be frustrated, angry, or aggressive and don’t want to take that chance, either.
I don’t know that the kids have healed as much as they just don’t notice school shootings anymore. Can you heal from something like this if it so normalized?
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.