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Survivors of Virginia Tech Shootings Face Long Road to Normalcy

As classes resumed at Virginia Tech, survivors of the April 16 shootings worked to get back to their normal routines, a difficult task for communities affected by tragedy such as Columbine High School in Colorado. The NewsHour reports on the struggle to adjust.

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  • TOM BEARDEN, NewsHour Correspondent:

    Last week, the world saw the raw emotions of a university community trying to cope with mass murder. Some students went back to class on Monday, but people who have survived school shootings say a return to any real sense of normalcy may take years.

    Frank DeAngelis is the principal of Columbine High. He says the Virginia Tech shootings brought back crushing reminders of April 20, 1999, when 13 people died at his suburban Denver high school.

  • FRANK DEANGELIS, Principal, Columbine High School:

    Sick to my stomach, just gut wrenching, gut wrenching. Even though it was happening at Virginia Tech, I was having flashbacks to Columbine High School, having flashbacks to our students running out of the building with their hands on top of their head being escorted by the SWAT team. When I saw students falling from the windows, in my mind, I saw Patrick Ireland on that day, and so it was very difficult for me.


    DeAngelis says 80 percent of the staff and faculty who were at Columbine that day have left.


    I think the thing that is so disturbing to them is many of them got through the first five or six years without having any of the feeling that I have described and then, all of the sudden, in year six or year seven or year eight, they're starting to experience and feel some things they never felt prior. And it really is mind-boggling, but this past week really took its toll on some of our staff.