CHARDON -- The man who helped a community heal after the 1999 Columbine High School shootings, spoke to a group of about 200 parents, teachers, and students in Chardon Wednesday night.
Frank DeAngelis, principal of Columbine High School, came to town to offer words of hope to the community, which will mark the second anniversary of the shootings at Chardon High School next week.
"We both have one thing in common: We saw evil one particular day," said DeAngelis to the crowd at St Mary's Church Hall.
Fifteen years ago, 12 students and a teacher were killed in the Littleton, Colorado massacre, which changed security and safety protocols in schools across the nation.
"Fortunately the 13 who lost their lives did not lose their lives in vain, because many of the things that are occurring in these places are saving lives," said DeAngelis.
He said the students who survived the terror -- who are now in their 30's -- are dealing with higher rates of divorce, domestic violence, and problems with drugs and alcohol. He emphasized the need for emotional help and professional counseling many years afterward.
"There is help," DeAngelis pleaded. "Please, please, please think about 5 years from now, and 10 years from now as far as getting help."
But with help, there is hope and healing.
"We are a stronger community 15 years later. And I promise you will be too," he said.