Opinion
School Climate & Safety Letter to the Editor

Columbine Anniversary Recalls an Earlier Shooting

May 11, 2009 1 min read

To the Editor:

Your article “Lessons Sifted From Tragedy at Columbine” (April 8, 2009) was a touching reminder of that terrible school shooting 10 years ago last month. Unfortunately, it also left me feeling denied and omitted.

I am one of 600 who survived a shooting tragedy at Bethel Regional High School in Bethel, Alaska, on Feb. 19, 1997. On that horrible day, a 16-year-old student killed our principal and another student with a shotgun. We huddled in classrooms and corners for half an hour until a shootout in our lobby led to the capture of the young gunman by the police. This was a huge event in the lives of our school and community, and the omission of this day from your composite overview of school shootings is an unintended act of disrespect for our ordeal.

I urge you to thoroughly research your articles before they’re published to avoid these unintended slights in the future.

Stephen O’Brien

Anchorage, Alaska

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A version of this article appeared in the May 13, 2009 edition of Education Week as Columbine Anniversary Recalls an Earlier Shooting

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