20 years after Columbine, Noblesville mom reflects on middle school shooting

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. - April 20 marks 20 years since the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.

“I see the shooters on the hill very clearly their trench coats,” recalled survivor Will Beck to Resilient Hope, a resource for survivors of school violence. “One of the very first things that I saw was a guy a few feet away from me get shot.. he started screaming and they shot him again.”

As Columbine survivors like Beck look back, the one-year mark since the shooting inside Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana is approaching in May.

One mom who experienced the trauma in Noblesville said she can’t believe that 20 years after Columbine, school shootings continue.

“I remember just seeing the images and the video,” Noblesville mom, Lisa Duell, said of Columbine. “Just complete horror.”

Like most, she watched Columbine unfold on TV in 1999.

Then, one-year ago, Lisa was among the Noblesville parents who got the same call Columbine parents did 19 years before.

“She said, ‘There’s an active shooter at West, there’s an active shooter at West,’” Duell said of the phone call alerting her to the shooting in her 8th grade daughter’s school. “It was my worst nightmare.”

Noblesville student Ella Whistler was shot seven times; teacher Jason Seaman was shot three times stopping the shooter.

“I just fell to my knees, there’s really nothing else that mattered,” Lisa said about receiving the news that her daughter was OK.

Data from the FBI shows, of 27 active shooters in the U.S. last year, Noblesville’s was the youngest at 13-years-old.

What is now a common conversation in every school was unheard of 20 years ago when 13 innocent people died at Columbine. It’s now the 12th deadliest mass shooting in the U.S.

Lisa says school security upgrades made since then are not enough.

“It’s going to take parents drawing the line in the sand and saying enough is enough, and, believe me, it can happen in any school district,” she said.

Lisa says, part of the problem is, schools don’t publicly report all threats that happen at schools, so parents don’t fully know how often threats happen.

The Indiana Department of Education says not all information is publicly available because of juvenile privacy laws.

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