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Columbine by Dave Cullen Discussion Questions

Instructor: Grace Pisano

Grace attended James Madison University has a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in teaching. She previously taught high school social studies in several states around the country.

If studying the Columbine school shooting, ''Columbine'' by Dave Cullen is considered the most detailed, well-researched study of the event. Use these discussion questions to help your students dig deeper into the text.

The Columbine High School Shooting

On April 20, 1999, the United States was rocked by the shooting that took place at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado. In the non-fiction book, Columbine, journalist, Dave Cullen, looks at the events leading up to that day, the actual shooting and the aftermath. This book is written for older students. Use these questions in your upper high school or post-secondary classroom as a spring board for discussions on gun control, mental health issues, and more.

As a side note, there may be scenes discussed in this book that are graphic and upsetting to students. Be sure to have a discussion with students prior to reading the book about what they will encounter.

General Columbine Questions

  • What is your personal account of Columbine? Do you remember where you were or what your first thoughts were when you heard about the shooting?
  • Think about the characters you ''meet'' in the book. Who stood out to you the most? Of all the characters, which one had the greatest chance of changing the events that happened on April 20?
  • What is your impression of Eric and Dylan as their characters develop throughout the book? Does this change the way you view the Columbine shooting?
  • Today, all Americans would agree that school shootings are far too common. However, people are very split on what a solution to this problem is. With your knowledge of school shootings and the detailed information in this book, what do you think the answer to the problem is? Could you see legislation being passed that would promote this?

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