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Wisconsin schools safer after 1999 Columbine school massacre

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River Falls, 54022
River Falls Journal
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River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

It was 10 years ago today when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold opened fire at Columbine High School near Denver, killing 12 classmates and a teacher.

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Since then, Wisconsin schools both large and small have locked their side doors and controlled visitors, created elaborate security plans, and worked a lot more closely with police.

Peter Pochowski of Milwaukee, head of the National Association of School Safety Officers, says all the efforts have paid off.

Before Columbine, up to 34 youngsters died in U.S. schools each year. Since then, student deaths have averaged around 12-14 a year.

In Cazenovia, where Eric Hainstock killed principal John Klang a few years ago, officials said the massacre would have been much worse without the good security prompted by Columbine.

In Green Bay, a student was honored nationally for speaking up, and stopping three high school students from pulling off a similar Columbine massacre.

Those security efforts keep being refined.

Elmbrook Superintendent Matt Gibson says his district's emergency response plans are revised each year.

And school psychologists meet with social workers and principals to identify troubled kids and avoid potential crises.

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