For more than two decades since it entered the American lexicon, Columbine High School has stood on the same site in Littleton, Colorado, little changed since the massacre that ushered in an era of mass killings. But now, the district is considering tearing down the school, citing overwhelming attention, and concern that the site is influencing those who may become school shooters.
In a letter published last week, Jason Glass, superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools, asked for the community's feedback on a proposal to raze most of the existing school and build new facilities.
“Since the morbid fascination with Columbine has been increasing over the years, rather than dissipating, we believe it is time for our community to consider this option for the existing Columbine building,” he wrote.
The move came less than two months after Sol Pais, an 18-year-old Florida woman, flew to Colorado in the days before the 20-year anniversary of the Columbine shooting and bought a shotgun, setting off a manhunt before she took her own life. But Glass said that Pais' case was far from an isolated incident.
In the run-up to the anniversary, John McDonald, the district's head of security, had to intercept a crush of trespassers as they followed what Glass' letter called a “gravitational pull” to the school.
Every day, multiple times a day, people show up at the high school wanting to see it, photograph it and get inside it.
Some say they just want to pay their respects to the victims. Others claim they are in love with the shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who killed themselves inside the school. Some say they have been reincarnated with the shooters' souls.