Columbine Teacher's Guide

Discussions & Papers
Expanded topics list for class discussions, student papers, projects, etc.

  1. Schools
    • School violence
    • Impact on daily life: drills, safety plans, awareness, etc.
    • Zero Tolerance: pros and cons
    • Threat assessment
  2. Teen Depression
    • Role in the Columbine attack (and in other attacks)
    • Prevalence (6% of U.S. teens—2 million)
    • Consequences
    • Detection and prevention
    • Treatment: options/efficacy
  3. The Killers
    • Eric's motives
    • Dylan's motives
    • Evolution of each boy's intentions
    • Suicide vs. homicide in each
    • Eric's gradual criminal development (vandalism, petty theft, felony theft, murder)
    • Role/responsibility of the parents
    • Life after Columbine for the Harrises and Klebolds
    • Warning signs
    • How Eric fooled everyone
    • Dylan's attempt to warn Brooks
  4. Victims and Survivors
    • Heroes and role models
    • Overcoming adversity
    • Grieving and the healing process
    • PTSD—differentiated from normal trauma
    • Positive and negative responses among survivors
    • Infighting within the community
    • Lessons from survivors
    • Battle for control of the tragedy ("Who owns the tragedy?")
    • The power of symbols: e.g., "Take Back The School"
  5. Society
    • Impact on the culture
    • Copycats
    • Fear among parents
  6. School Culture / Teen Culture
    • Tolerance: has anything changed?
    • Attitudes toward bullying (whether or not they turned out to be a role in the tragedy)
    • Efforts to help outcast kids and loners
    • Compassion vs. recognizing real danger
    • Impact of the book on you
  7. Law Enforcement & Legal
    • What has changed?
    • Active Shooter Protocol
    • Gun Control
    • The Gun Show Loophole
    • The detective team: Investigating crimes of this magnitude
  8. Media and Myths
    • How did the press get it so wrong?
    • Where did the myths come from?
    • Implications for news consumers (reading critically)
    • Tension between victims and journalists
    • Compassionate reporting
    • Infamy and glorification of killers
  9. Columbine as Literature
    • Themes
    • Characters
    • Plot and tension
    • Setting
    • Tone
    • Novelistic techniques ("nonfiction novel"?)