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Columbine teachers prepare for students' return

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Once rivals, Chatsfield High School prepares to welcome Columbine students with open arms

On the agenda: Dealing with tragedy

LITTLETON, Colorado (CNN) -- The return to class for Columbine High School students has been delayed because so many teen-agers have been attending funerals for classmates killed in the April 20 massacre, an administrator announced Tuesday.

The students will report to Chatfield High School only briefly on Friday to fill out paperwork, the first step toward completing their last 13 days of the school year.

On Monday, the 1,965 students will begin afternoon classes at the school just a few miles away from Columbine. Chatfield students will attend classes in the morning.

Columbine teachers spent Tuesday at Chatfield, preparing for the return of their students.

English teacher Cheryl Lucas still has a vivid memory of what happened one week ago.

"I was standing near the west windows of the cafeteria when Mr. Dave Sanders rushed in and yelled to us, 'Get down, he has a gun,'" Lucas recalled.

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CNN's Anne McDermott looks at the obstacles teachers will have to overcome to begin educating students after the tragedy (April 27)
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This week, Lucas attended a funeral for Sanders, one of her fellow teachers.

But rather than dwelling on what happened, she is looking ahead, eager to get back to the business of educating her kids, who she calls "the future."

But Lucas is concerned about what she has to offer students who survived the brutal assault.

"After that, teaching poetry terminology doesn't seem particularly vital at this point in time," Lucas said.

Chatfield Principal Sally Blanchard agreed.

"What we're really talking about is human education, working with each other, learning to support each other," she said.

Calling the return to classrooms "a very important next step in the process of healing," Barbara Monseau, area administrator for the Jefferson County School District, said the first thing Columbine students will do when they arrive at Chatfield is attend an assembly reuniting them with their teachers.

Chatfield and Columbine are sports rivals, but Chatfield kids are doing what they can to make the visiting students feel at home.

"We're going to treat them as normal," promised Chatfield junior John Damos.

Anguish over bullet-blasted book

Local businesses have donated replacements for the papers, pens and books that Columbine students left behind in the chaos of the shooting.

That should ease the mind of one student, who escaped with his own life, but was anguished over a textbook that took a fatal shot.

"'They shot my chemistry book. What am I going to do?'" Lucas recalled the boy saying. "He was worried. He had a quiz on Friday, and he didn't know how he was going to take his quiz when he had a big hole through his chemistry book."

Correspondent Anne McDermott contributed to this report.


CNN INDEPTH SPECIAL:
Are schools safe?

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RELATED SITES:
Swedish Hospital (patient conditions)
Littleton Adventist Hospital - Important Phone Numbers
Denver Health Medical Center - Home
APA HelpCenter
Violence Policy Center
  • Fact Sheet on Littleton, Colorado School Shooting
Columbine High School
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
Jefferson County Public Schools
KUSA
  • Breaking News
KMGH Denver
School violence
GUN-FREE SCHOOLS ACT OF 1994
CDC: Facts About Violence Among Youth and Violence in Schools
Violence and Discipline Problems in U.S. Public Schools: 1996-97 / 98-030
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