DENVER — School resource officers from across the country have gathered in Denver for the 2022 NASRO National School Safety Conference to train on the best ways to keep our students safe.
The week-long conference culminated in a service at the Columbine Memorial Thursday evening to reflect on their collective mission — to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
Among the speakers at the ceremony was Frank DeAngelis, who was principal of Columbine High School the day of the attack. He wrapped up his speech by reading the names of the 13 victims — “my kids,” as he calls them to this day.
“I can’t tell you the number of times that I was at Columbine High School, and I had some of those days saying, "Can we continue to do this?"” DeAngelis told the crowd of officers, encouraging them to lean in to the challenge and mission ahead of them. “But I made that trek from Columbine High School here [to the memorial], and just sat down and read about each and every one of my kids. And they gave me the strength to continue. And as I stand here before you, you have all given me the strength to continue to do what I’m doing. Because they’re all of our kids.”
Nearly 1,500 school resource officers have participated in the conference in Aurora this week, sponsored by the National Association of School Resource Officers. They have trained not only on how to best respond during moments of crisis, but also how to communicate with parents and the community during crises and how to identify threats before they arise.
The lessons sank in for attendees during quiet reflection at the Columbine Memorial.
“Here at the memorial — this is actually my second time here — and each time, it’s just as powerful,” said Tony Ramaeker, a school resource officer from Nebraska. “The 13 that died here, all of the elementary school kids that died at Sandy Hook, we will not let them die in vain. And we will train, and train, and train until this problem is done with.”