MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Rick Kaufman was the spokesperson for Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999.
He was one of the first officials on scene after early reports of shots fired at the school on April 20. Kaufman is now the executive director of community relations and emergency management for Bloomington Public Schools. He’s currently serving as a consultant to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people died in a shooting on Valentine’s Day.
Kaufman spoke with Esme Murphy on WCCO Sunday Morning. He responded to Columbine High School shortly after the first reports of gunfire, and immediately started assisting with first aid with having experience as a paramedic.
Kaufman has been with Bloomington Public Schools for more than 10 years, and school districts are now reaching out to him for assistance after school shootings.
“I get a lot of calls partly because of my experience at Columbine and since then, as I led that crisis response team effort, I’ve worked with schools, colleges and universities across the country for the better part of 20 years,” Kaufman said. “Helping them in emergency management. We’re helping them work through the various stages of grief that they’re experiencing.”
Kaufman said he still checks in with former colleagues and students at Columbine after school shootings. His motivation now is to work with other schools in order to prevent future incidents.