El Dorado High School remembers Columbine with Civic Engagement speaker

Most of the students that now attend El Dorado High School were not alive when the attacks on Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., happened on April 20, 1999.

So, in remembrance of those students that suffered in the shooting by Columbine students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, instead of walking out of school like many schools around the country, El Dorado High School students heard a speaker from the Kansas Department of Education about Civic Engagement.

“I want to applaud El Dorado because I think something like 26,000 schools today walked out,” EHS Principal Kevin House said. “Unfortunately when they walk out they just leave. They’re not remembering anything in my opinion.”

Instead of following the herd, EHS student council and House decided to bring in a gust speaker that will help create a more positive environment to remember Columbine in.

“We looked for a different way to recognize that,” House said. “Mr. (Don) Gifford is speaking to us about civic duty, civic needs as opposed to the civil disobedience that you probably saw on the news last night.”

Gifford is a former Social Science teacher and is now the Coordinator for Civic Engagement for the Kansas State Department of Education.

Civic engagement is “working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes,” according to a New York Times definition.

Gifford is an Emporia State University alum and was a social studies teacher for Washburn Rural School District. He also was on the Council of State Social Studies Supervisors.

Friday was the 19th Anniversary for the Columbine High School shooting. Thirteen people were killed and 20 more wounded before Harris and Klebold used their guns to committ suicide.

Bullying and being considered social outcasts by piers was said to be the motivations behind the tragedy. According to ABC News, there has been 270 school shootings of any kind and 141 people killed, since the Littleton, Colo. shooting.