Standing Strong: Kids Deal with Tragedies

Monday marked the re-opening of two separate facilities that were recently marked by violent tragedy, Columbine High School in suburban Denver and the North Valley Jewish Community Center in suburban Los Angeles. Adults and children alike exhibited strength and courage as the two schools reopened their doors. From the sites:

  • Four months after young gunmen Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris sent their classmates fleeing in horror, nearly 2,000 students reclaimed Columbine High in Littleton, Colo., striding through the front doors for the start of the new school year with high-fives and cheers of “We are Columbine!” “Although we were surrounded by terror and destruction, we still stood strong,” student body president Mike Sheehan said in a pre-school rally. “We have prevailed. We have overcome.” Teachers snipped a blue ribbon and the kids began filing into the school, where bullet holes have been plastered and painted over, gray walls have been painted white, green and blue, and the library (where most of the carnage took place) re-outfitted with wall-to-wall student lockers. The renovations cost $1.2 million.
  • Clowns and magicians were on hand — along with guards, police officers and the Rev. Jesse Jackson — as more than 160 children returned to the North Valley Jewish Community Center, where a white supremacist went on a shooting rampage exactly a week ago. Many of the youngsters arrived with bright green and purple hair for “crazy hair day,” aimed at creating an atmosphere of fun. “She’s a little apprehensive,” Michael Gottlieb told the Associated Press as he dropped off his daughter Amanda. The 4-year-old had stood helplessly in the center’s lobby just 20 feet from the gunman the day he fired 70 shots and wounded a 68-year-old receptionist, a 16-year-old counselor and three boys. The alleged gunman, Buford O. Furrow Jr., was charged with murder and attempted murder after surrendering to the FBI in Las Vegas.
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