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It was a warm day and students suspected someone had “spring fever” and set off a false alarm.Then other students ran past the group yelling, “They’ve got guns! ” “I didn’t believe them because that was absurd,” Reed said.
In the ensuing years, Martin failed out of college, developed an eating disorder and struggled with paralyzing grief.
But somehow, she found herself back at school — this time, at the front of the classroom.
Two were high school seniors at the time who later became teachers, while a third recently retired from Columbine after more than three decades on the job.
Each of their lives was deeply disrupted by the experience, yet they emerged from trauma and grief committed to educating students.
Martin and other Columbine shooting survivors who work in schools witnessed that transformation firsthand.
Two decades later, the educators are still haunted by common school occurrences like fire alarms and large crowds of young people.Twenty years after the mass school shooting at Columbine High School in suburban Denver, survivors and victims' families still grapple with significant, ongoing grief. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)he first time Heather Martin experienced a lockdown drill, the traumatic memories from her past resurfaced.As instructed, Martin locked the classroom door, switched off the lights and covered the windows.With its location in a well-off Denver suburb characterized by sprawling neighborhoods and strip malls, she recalls a school with a small-town vibe, enthusiastic school spirit and competitive sports teams.On the morning of April 20, 1999, Martin was in the school’s choir room when shots erupted in the hallway.For much of America, “Columbine” isn’t a quiet suburban school in the shadows of an expansive, tranquil mountain range.Instead, the word is synonymous with mass school shootings and the ways they’ve upended the perception of safety in America’s public schools.Martin had similar thoughts about her school prior to the tragedy.Columbine “seemed like any other high school in America,” she said.“I have no idea why my brain went to that, but it was just loud noise.” When someone hollered a warning, Porter sought shelter under a cafeteria table before sprinting upstairs to a freshman biology class, where she again hid under a table.The teacher turned on a television and Porter watched live news about the shooting as it unfolded.