What many consider America’s first mass school shooting took place 20 years ago in 1999. The Columbine shooting left 13 people dead in Littleton, Colorado and just a little over 700 miles from North Dakota, school officials are taking extra measures to make sure kids are safe.
Over the years it inspired copy cats across the country, and to prevent this from happening, Bismarck Public Schools have procedures in place on the inside and outside of each building.
“We really worked to secure our buildings. Making sure that exterior doors are locked, entrances are secure into the building and some of our buildings you have to buzz in to get into the office,” said Becky Labella, Safety Coordinator for Bismarck Public Schools.
Out of the 25 public schools in Bismarck, there are five school resource officers who are taken off the streets and help aid students inside the schools.
The two teenagers responsible for the shootings had guns and bombs and were said to have experienced mental distress, like a lot of teenagers who are outcasted, bullied and even disabled keeping schools administrators on alert.
“Every school has a problem-solving committee and every week we meet which consists of administrators, councilors, special education workers, social workers and we look at several indicators from grades to any red flag behavior of attendance, writing assignments, comments, and students that become introverted,” said Nadine Butts, Assistant Principal at Legacy High School.
Both gunmen took their lives that day, making that 15 people who died at Columbine High School.
Officials are encouraging people to speak out when they see red flags.
“To not be afraid if we are concerned about somebody else to talk to somebody that could possibly reach out and get us the get help. If we can wrap each other around those kinds of supports and in a caring manner I think we are going to see a lot of positive changes in this world,” said Butts.
According to CNN, The Columbine shootings rank as one of the worst mass shootings in US history as well as one of the deadliest episodes of school violence.