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Our view: Evolving from Columbine

So much has changed since 1999.

Then, we thought we were Internet-savvy. Now we're Internet-driven. Some might even say we're completely dependent on Web.

Then, Americans were living in relative peace, confident that the conflict in Kosovo was winding down. Today, our national innocence is lost, thanks to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks; meanwhile, the United States remains embroiled in war.

It truly is a different world we live in.

But despite one unforgettable act that occurred in 1999, not as much has changed as a result. It's not hard for most of us to remember the day two Colorado youths stormed Columbine High School and went on a killing rampage.

Today, school violence continues to occur. Bullying hasn't gone away, and new methods -- read: cyberbullying and sexting -- are prominent.

That's why we're heartened to see programs like the one featured in this week's Bulletin reaching our students. The "Rachel's Challenge" program, spurred by one Columbine victim's legacy, urged Lake Middle School students to spread kindness. Students were challenged to follow the Golden Rule, speak kind words and embrace forgiveness, among other things. Meanwhile, students at Crosswinds East Metro Arts & Science School heard a similar anti-bullying message last week.

Yes, much has changed since the late 1990s. And more needs to change. We're pleased to see these programs in our schools and hope they leave a lasting effect into the next decade and beyond.