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Twenty years after two gunmen attacked Columbine High School, the community of Littleton, Colorado, remains divided on the verge of knowing it's time to demolish the site of one of the worst shootings in the world. a school in the history of the United States.
Jason Glass, superintendent of Jeffco Public Schools, in the school district where Columbine is located, is among those demanding the demolition of the school. In a recent editorial for The Washington Post, Glass explained that the school has become a tourist destination and that, while most visitors are harmless, some of them could be imitating coin shooters. He says the school should be demolished and rebuilt nearby.
In his op-ed, Glass writes that from June 2018 to May 2019, some 2,400 people were arrested or arrested for trespassing on the grounds of Columbine.
"It's hard to run a full high school for about 1,700 students in a building that appears to be a source of macabre inspiration for the contagion of shootings in US schools over the past two decades," wrote Glass.
Sending to NPR, Glass said: "It's the constant management of this situation and the pressure that any unauthorized person who comes to the site can be there to hurt, that's the problem." .
Residents who want the building to remain have valid reasons, rooted in emotion, economy and tradition, Glass told NPR.
The very fact that the building is still standing is synonymous with resilience, for many members of the community, said Glass, saying that "the building was somehow a symbol of what the shooters were trying to accomplish in 1999 and that he should continue to do so. " this."
In the end, the community will make the final decision, said Glass. If Columbine is demolished, taxpayers would have to shell out up to $ 70 million for the construction of a new high school.
Glass said he hoped that, whatever the fate of the building, the emotional debate would be a crucial opportunity for Columbine to stand out, especially as a community that makes a difficult decision with love and respect. .
"At the present time, our responsibility is to inform the community of the issue and help them find it," Glass said. "I think it's really very important, especially on an issue that concerns kids in the community, that we show that we can come together and have a thoughtful conversation."
Columbine is far from the only community to have been forced to attack the fate of a mass shooting site. As recently stated Bobby Allyn, of NPR:
"In Newtown, Connecticut, Sandy Hook Elementary School, where an armed man killed 20 students and six adults in 2012, was demolished in 2013 and a brand new building was built on the property.
Officials in Parkland, Florida, are about to replace the three-story Marjory Stoneman Douglas building, which was the scene of the murder of 17 students and staff members. "
NPR's Meera Venkat and Natalie Winston have produced and edited this story for the radio.