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Monday, May 3, 1999 Published at 18:43 GMT 19:43 UK


World: Americas

Columbine pupils back to school

Students and residents remember the dead

Students from Columbine High School in Denver are returning to class, almost two weeks after their classmates killed 15 people in a shooting rampage.

Denver
But the students will not be going back to Columbine, which is still under investigation as a crime scene.

Instead, they will be attending afternoon classes at nearby Chatfield High School.

After 13 days of funerals and vigils, many students expressed relief at going back to school, hoping it would help restore normality to their lives.


ABC's Rebecca Stephens: Staff want to help school get through this difficult time
"We're just happy to get back to normal things instead of going to all these sad things and get back to what we're used to," said 15-year-old Kiala Slater.

But some students said they were still not ready to return, afraid that they could be targeted again.

"I'm scared that something else is going to happen. When you put us all in a big group like this in another building they're going to know where to come if they want us again," said another girl

Last respects

About 3,000 students, faculty and parents attended one last memorial on Sunday.

"It's time to get back on the horse," school board president Jon DeStefano said. "This will take courage for all of us. But I promise you, you will be safe."

Students sent get-well wishes to the 23 wounded, five of whom remained in Denver hospitals.

Mr DeStefano said every precaution had been taken to make Chatfield High as safe as possible, and a task force would be put in place to improve security at all the schools in the county.

In preparation for the new students, Chatfield assigned several sheriffs deputies to the campus, changed all the locks on the building, and blocked admission to anyone but students and staff with proper identification.

Gun supplier expected to surrender

Meanwhile, the man suspected of selling the semi-automatic handgun used in the shootings is expected to surrender to investigators, Jefferson County District Attorney Dave Thomas said.

The gun seller, identified only as a "local, young adult," said he did not know what the gun would be used for.

Mr Thomas said he will only be charged with selling a handgun to a minor, which is a state felony.





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