Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline, Second Edition
Edited By Anthony J. Nocella II, Priya Parmar and David Stovall
Chapter Two: The Schoolhouse as Jailhouse
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The Columbine Memorial is carved into a knoll in Clement Park, a vast tract of emerald lawns, sports fields, and playgrounds on Pierce Street, abutting Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Past the baseball field and picnic areas, the memorial is hidden from view until you are right at its entrance. A few discreet signs around the park direct visitors to the red rock and granite environmental design, with its inner “ring of remembrance” and outer “ring of healing.” The inner ring offers individual biographies of the twelve students and one teacher killed that day, spelled out on the top surface of a granite wall. On the ground, a looped ribbon and the words “Never Forgotten,” the motto of those touched by the tragedy, are worked into a stone paving design. Etched onto dark tablets on the red wall of the outer ring are quotes from unnamed students, teachers, and community members, as well as one from Bill Clinton, who was president when the assault occurred. One unattributed quote asks rhetorically, yet provocatively, “It brought the nation to its knees but now that we’ve gotten back up how have things changed; what have we learned?”
I visited Littleton at the ninth anniversary of the Columbine tragedy as part of my two-year reporting and research project on the real nature of school violence and the hyperbolic reactions to it that have come to characterize polices ← 37 | 38 → on safety and discipline in public schools....