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A Decade Since Columbine

It’s been ten years since the massacre at Columbine High School. When I heard that a few hours ago, I was shocked. Mainly because that means it’s been ten years since I was a freshman in high school. So much has happened since then.

I don’t remember it as vividly as I remember 9/11. But I do recall being in my French class talking about it. I also remember the aftermath. The days following in which my school sought out all the “alternative/goth/punk” kids, especially if they wore trench coats, and violated their privacy.

When I think about it now, I am so incredibly appalled. It is truly disturbing what institutions and large groups of people with authority can get away with during a period of crisis. Many of us students at the time saw the injustice, but, at least speaking for myself, I felt there was nothing I could do about it except voice dissent to my peers.

I was in the band, and there was a junior saxophone player who wore a trench coat, had black hair, wore eyeliner and black nail polish, wore chains and pins and patches on his clothes. He was one of the targeted. A girl a year older than me, also a flute player so I knew her relatively well, was good friends with him. She was really upset by the way he was being treated, and through her eyes I realized how wrong it was, and felt so hopeless. For mysterious reasons nobody would disclose to the students, they found reason to believe he was dangerous and a threat so they searched his bedroom and found “dangerous things”. So he was suspended. I remember being so angry, thinking, “if they searched MY room they’d find ‘dangerous things’ too!” if by dangerous things they meant angry, emotional CDs, razors, knives, and “goth” paraphernalia. But The Authorities wouldn’t know that, because I was an unassuming 15 year old girl with natural colored hair, glasses, didn’t wear make-up, and wore traditional style clothing.

I don’t think he ever came back, I think he transferred to a “special” school. After that we got more security guards. People weren’t allowed to wear trench coats. Inane rules were regulated.

Whatever happened to communication? To talking to one another? Why can’t adults in a position of authority find a balance with creating an open dialogue with the students under their supposed protection? I think that would go over a lot better than upping “muscle” and rule-enforcers around high school campuses.

When I got to college and Quaker ideals were applied to everything, I was blown away. I really wish they were acknowledged more in the “real world”. Especially the model of consensus vs. majority rule. Dialogue HAS to occur in order to come to a consensus.

I’m writing this off-the-cuff, because the day is almost over and it’s just something I wanted to extrapolate on. I don’t know what American high schools are doing now, so I don’t really have an opinion on how much or how so things have changed. But I kind of doubt there is much sense of community and connection going on.

(Except for Lexington High School’s Drama Club who are putting on a self-created production based on Neutral Milk Hotel’s Aeroplane Over The Sea along with Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls who is an alumna of the school. That is AWESOME. The end.)

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