Safety Is Hard to Ensure, Administrators Say

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Fifteen minutes after he heard the news, Principal Larry Bentz was on the intercom, announcing the grim report that there had been shootings at a Colorado high school.

For Mr. Bentz and the students and faculty at Thurston High School, the killings hit a raw nerve. Last May, a freshman at their Springfield, Ore., school opened fire in the cafeteria, killing two students and wounding 22 others.

"The rumors were already starting" about the April 20 events in Jefferson County, Colo., said Mr. Bentz, who wanted to let people know the facts as quickly as possible. "It was very rough Tuesday afternoon--we all relived our shooting."

As the nation struggled last week to understand the massacre at Columbine High School, psychologists and school safety experts warned that such outbursts are difficult to predict and prevent.

But a spate of campus shootings during the 1997-98 school year led to additional guidance for principals and other educators on what to look for and on how to react in times of crisis.

Vol. 18, Issue 33, Pages 1, 18-20

Published in Print: April 28, 1999, as Safety Is Hard To Ensure, Administrators Say
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