CENTENNIAL - Students were allowed back in to Arapahoe High School for brief visits that provided some comfort following last week's shooting.
Juniors and seniors were allowed inside for two hours Thursday to get things they had to leave behind after a gunman opened fire, wounding one student before killing himself. Underclassmen are scheduled to report Friday.
Connor and Garrett Lumley were among the students who returned on Thursday to gather their belongings. The two brothers describe the experience as emotional and difficult. They knew they wanted to get in and out quickly because being inside the school took them back to the day of the shooting.
"I went into the classroom where I was, and I grabbed my backpack and saw my teacher. When I went into the classroom, I had a flashback," Connor Lumley said.
Connor's father, John, also had a flashback. He says he was working on Friday when he received a text message from his son that read, "There's a shooter in the school and I love you."
John said a paralyzing sensation came over him, because he wasn't sure if he would see his son again. It quickly reminded him of 14 years ago, when his older son was a freshman at Columbine High School.
"After having been through the Columbine thing, you just sort of figure this is not going to happen again, not here, not in the same area," John Lumley said.
But it did happen again. John Lumley's sons were inside the building and he would have to wait hours to see them to make sure they were safe.
John Lumley describes the incident as traumatizing. He says it has taken years for his older son to get through the pain of what happened at Columbine High School. He is aware of what the next few years will be like for his youngest sons as they begin the journey towards recovery.
John says the most important thing parents can take away from the devastating event is to listen and pay close attention to their children. He also says it has taught him to tell his children how much he loves them every day.
The district says classes at Arapahoe High School will resume in January.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)