Columbine High Principal: 'I Needed To Stay'

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This weekend, hundreds will gather at Clement Park in Littleton, Colo., to mark the 10th anniversary of the deadly shootings at nearby Columbine High School.

In that crowd will be Columbine High Principal Frank DeAngelis, one of only a few staff members to have stayed on in the years since the massacre. He figures he's in a pretty unique situation.

"A lot of times, [for] survivors of plane crashes, or even people that survived the 9/11 terrorism act, returning to that site is very emotional," DeAngelis says. "But for anyone who decided to come back into this building, it's very difficult, because each and every day you relive what happened."

DeAngelis says things are a little better for him today. Most of the school's 145 staff members came back to work the school year after the massacre, but few stayed on much longer. Only 33 of that group are left now. So why is DeAngelis still here?

"It happened on my watch, and I really felt that I needed to stay. And I made a commitment to myself that if it ever got to the point that I didn't want to be here or I was dreading coming into this building or the school, that I would leave. And I haven't had that feeling; and I'm looking forward to finishing my career," he says.

DeAngelis originally pledged to stay on as principal through 2002. That was the year students who were freshmen during the shooting graduated. He's now planning to stay at least three more years.

Kirk Siegler reports for member station KUNC in Greeley, Co.

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