The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 14, 2014

Columbine principal to speak in Chardon

By STACY MILLBERG - smillberg@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

CHARDON — When an armed gunman walked into Chardon High School on Feb. 27, 2012, and opened fire, killing three students and permanently disabling another, life in the small community changed forever.

Now, almost two years later, the community is still healing from the tragedy.

As the second anniversary of the tragic event draws closer, the Chardon community will welcome Frank DeAngelis, principal at Columbine High School, to speak about the similar experience his school and community endured nearly 15 years ago.

DeAngelis has been an educator at Columbine High School for 34 years; as a teacher, a coach, and an assistant principal before becoming principal in 1996. He was named Colorado Principal of the Year for 2012-2013.

DeAngelis will offer his perspective on the long-term impact of a school shooting to the community and provide input on the continuous road map to recovery, said Ellen Ondrey, communications coordinator for Chardon Schools.

“He is retiring this year and has become a speaker on the residual effects of a school shooting and the recovery process,” she said.

Ondrey said DeAngelis’s message is somewhat of a sobering one. His message is that the effects of a school trauma are not going to go away after just a few years.

“It takes years to recover,” she said.

Efforts to help survivors and others affected by the tragedy must go on for years and the entire community must be involved in the healing efforts, she said.

Ondrey said the school district wants families and healthcare providers and the community in general to attend the event and hear what DeAngelis suggests to help in the healing process.

The event will be held Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at the St. Mary’s Church Banquet Room, 401 North St., in Chardon.

The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served following the presentation.

The event is being sponsored by the Chardon Local Schools and the Chardon Healing Fund.