On April 20, 1999, twelve students and one faculty member were shot and killed at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. The two shooters also died. Today, over nine years after the tragedy, the community continues to heal and cope with their loss. Rather than investigating the actual tragedy, this study focused on perceptions of three leaders representing the Columbine Memorial Planning Committee, summarizing their responses to 9 questions related to planning the Columbine Memorial. Now completed, the memorial invites students; families; the community of Littleton, Colorado; and the world to never forget this loss or precious life. This memorial represents a positive avenue for coping with their tragedy, the loss of loved ones, and the violence perpetrated on their school and community. The leaders' feedback is important to consider and provides direction and insight for other schools coping with similar trauma. Additionally, previous research on the topic of planning memorials is extremely limited, even more so for school-based memorials. More information is needed to guide practice. As a starting point, this thesis provides a brief overview of childhood and adolescent grief, a historical overview of how national tragedies involving children have been memorialized, and subsequently an initial investigation focusing on planning the Columbine Memorial. After reviewing and summarizing the committee members' responses, a list of suggestions are proposed to guide schools in planning memorials. The discussion section compares and contrasts the planning committee's feedback with previous information provided by the National Association of School Psychologists and other publications related to children and memorials.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





school memorials, Columbine, memorial planning committee