Saturday April 20th is the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School Massacre. 12 students and one teacher were killed and the two teen-age shooter took their own lives.

That is the double edged sword that is my life in this job. I get to do a lot of good but I also remember Columbine (and a lot of other heart breaking stories). I remember doing what I do every day; getting up, sorting through the news stories of the day, condensing it down to use for the daily news on the radio.

As I was sitting at my desk this morning, coffee in hand, when I realized that this April 20th was another mile stone, it's the 20th anniversary.

I have no idea what the answers are when it comes to school safety and the mental health issue that come along with it; but I can tell you I am disappointed that collectively we have not found real answers.

Here is my blog text from last year (2018) on school shootings, the 1995 Gardiner High School incident and Columbine:

April 20th always being bit of a heavy feeling for my heart.  It is the anniversary of the Columbine school shooting in Colorado in 1999. The two shooters, who were students, shot and killed 13 people before killing themselves.  It was so shocking to me it is one of those ‘moments in time’ memories in my life.

Unless you live under a rock, school shooting and school safety are a huge issue now as we have seen more and more incidents.

When I Googled ‘list of school shooting in the United States’ I found a BIG list from Wikipedia. It was a fascinating snapshot of the history of this subject.

The first one with double digits was from August 1, 1966.  The University of Texas massacre that left with 17 dead and 31 injured. As one scrolls thought the list the frequency and the numbers start adding up.

One incident I did not see on the list was the October 1995 incident at Gardiner Area High School where shots were fired but no one was hurt.  According to the Bangor Daily News story from January of 2013 about Keeping Maine Schools Safe Tim Marks, who was a Maine State Trooper at the time, noted it was pre-Columbine and they were able to negotiate with the 17 year old and he surrendered. The BND story said the kid had a rifle and knife. He held some of the staff and shots were fired outside the building. I happened to be driving in Gardiner that day on RT 126 near the high school when it happened. Students were running EVERYWHERE! That was the first school shooting  incident I knew about and I just did not get the gravity of the situation at first, it was such a foreign concept.

School shooting in Maine are rare but the social media threats about school violence are growing and gees, they create some major problems for law enforcement, schools, families and a kid who might think its 'funny'.

When it comes to school shooting, the one issue I hope we all agree on it our schools need to be a safe place for kids and staff. HOW that happens…WELL…that is another very big issue.

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