Officials in the Jefferson County School District in Colorado are considering demolishing Columbine High School due to an uptick in the “morbid fascination” people have with the site of the 1999 shooting massacre.
A letter from the district asks community members if they think the school should be torn down and rebuilt more than 20 years after two student gunmen killed 13 and injured dozens of others.
The district's superintendent Jason Glass also said there is concern that many shooters refer to the school's highly publicized incident as “inspiration and motivation.”
"The tragedy at Columbine High School in 1999 serves as a point of origin for this contagion of school shootings," Glass writes in the letter. "School shooters refer to and study the Columbine shooting as a macabre source of inspiration and motivation."
School safety experts have recommended tearing down the Columbine High School building where the horrific tragedy occurred 20 years ago and replacing it with a new school. Superintendent & Chief Learner @COJasonGlass seeks your feedback in a short survey https://t.co/dzV7lzrjnk pic.twitter.com/yv4FS25Duf— Jeffco Public Schools (@JeffcoSchoolsCo) June 6, 2019
Since the shooting that took place two decades ago, several mass killers have referenced the massacre as a source of inspiration or motivation. A recent investigation revealed more than 100 copycat shootings inspired by the tragedy.
Most recently, an 18-year-old Florida woman who was obsessed with the Columbine shooting traveled to Colorado and was armed, forcing nearly half of the state’s public school students to stay home. Authorities later found the woman dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Ahead of the shooting’s 20th anniversary, Glass said in the letter that in the past 11 months, the number of people trying to illegally enter the school or trespass on school property has increased “to record levels.”
“Columbine High School has a gravitational-pull for these sorts of individuals,” Glass wrote. “Annually, local law enforcement and Jeffco’s Department of School Safety make contacts with hundreds of individuals seeking to enter the school and reconnect with the 1999 murders.”
The letter says the administration is floating the idea of asking voters for another $60 to $70 million to build a new school, with “enhanced safety features, designed to provide greater monitoring and school privacy,” in place of the current Columbine.
Glass also suggested keeping the Columbine name, school mascot and school colors if a new building were to be constructed.
"We are in the very preliminary and exploratory stages of these conversations and we are seeking community feedback and thoughts on this proposal," Glass wrote.