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Students To Return to Columbine

May 31, 1999

LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) _ Counselors will be on hand this week as Columbine High School students return there for the first time since the shootings to finally retrieve their belongings.

One substitute teacher left her purse. Other teachers and students left backpacks and books as they fled in panic when two students opened fire and began hurling bombs April 20.

Rick Kaufman, spokesman for Jefferson County Public Schools, said students have been assigned specific times to pick up their belongings Tuesday and will be escorted in groups of 15.

Some areas remain off-limits. Except for some items being held as evidence, belongings that were left in the commons area outside the cafeteria, where the attack began, or the library, where most of the deaths occurred, will be picked up in the auditorium.

``The library is still considered a crime scene,″ Kaufman said.

The return is expected to be so emotional that counselors will be available, and parents have been invited, said school spokeswoman Marilyn Saltzman.

``Kids are really anxious to get their belongings,″ Saltzman said. ``They have purses, glasses, credit cards and keys.″

Seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 21 more before taking their lives. Columbine students finished out the school year at nearby Chatfield High School.

The district will spend the summer renovating the rooms damaged by bombs, bullets and water.

Emily Stepp and her brother Brian are among those who will be returning to pick up their things.

``It’s going to be hard because that was my last day in there as a senior,″ Ms. Stepp said. ``Most kids’ last day in their school is happy.″

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