Mona Kline Tells Of Surviving A 1979 School Shooting, And How It Shaped Her Life

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Photo: Columbine High School roses (AP Photo)
A boy looks through the fence at the Columbine High School tennis courts in Littleton, Colo., days after the April 20, 1999 shootings.

Mona Kline of Aurora survived what’s considered to be the first school shooting in modern times.

In Colorado, some may think of that moment as being at Columbine High School, in 1999. But Kline was a 12-year-old student Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California, 20 years before that, when a teenager with a gun opened fire, killing the principal and a custodian, and wounding nine others.

Kline tells Colorado Matters about the chaos of the day — there was no internet, no 24-hour cable news and no automated phone trees for emergencies. Later, she wrote a thesis about it in college, and then went into law enforcement in Denver. And she says that when mass shootings make the news again — as they did at the Aurora movie theater, and the Parkland, Florida, high school — she can’t believe such things still happen and that nothing has changed.