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Tragedy in My Children’s Alma Mater: The Arapahoe High School Shooting

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I am in shock over the shooting at Arapahoe High School. I live five minutes’ drive from the school. All three of my children attended and graduated from Arapahoe. How can something so horrific happen in my own backyard? I am usually in a festive mood this time of year, but this tragedy has me totally off course.

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Luc’s graduation cake, May 2013

My youngest son, Luc, graduated from Arapahoe in 2013. He played varsity basketball. My oldest son Jean-Paul graduated in 2006, and my daughter Michele in 2008.

Many questions flood my mind as I continue to try to make sense out of this tragedy:

What triggered the shooter, and are there any underlying issues that were ignored by his parents and school officials?

As a high school teacher, should I be concerned with how I confront students?

What can we do better as adults to prepare our children to handle adversity?

What lessons can we all learn from this tragedy?

I am not in a position to be accusatory, but something went awry with the shooter. How can a parent not know something is mentally wrong with his or her child? I do not think Karl Pierson woke up one day and decided to become a killer overnight. I hope this tragedy will inspire all parents to pay closer attention to their teens.

We live in a society that encourages instant gratification. We must find ways to teach our children that adversity is part of life, and helps build character. As a parent and an educator, I can’t shy away from confronting it if it is needed. I do not know what happened between Karl Pierson and his teacher, but whatever it is it should never have led to him going on a killing rampage.

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My son Luc with hubby and me on graduation day from Arapahoe High School, May 2013.

I have been a classroom teacher for 26 years. I spent 15 of those years teaching middle school. During my tenure as a middle school teacher, I had two students who threatened to kill me. These students were properly disciplined, and thank goodness, they did not carry out their threats.

I moved into Arapahoe’s attendance area because the school has an excellent academic reputation. Hubby and I wanted to set our three children up for success. We are proud that our three children attended Arapahoe.

I will continue to pray for my community and for Claire Davis. I know from firsthand experience that we are a strong community and we will come out as victors not victims in this horrible tragedy.

About Nicole Weaver