School leader recalls foiled 'Columbine-Style' plot at Green Bay East High School


GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Ten years ago, on September 14, two Green Bay East High School students were arrested after planning a Columbine-style attack.

Their plan was foiled after another student told school leaders about the plan.

“We’re very lucky,” said Ed Dorff, former principal of Green Bay East High School.

He says 10 years ago, student’s lives could’ve been put in danger.

“We had a situation that was very, very, frightening, very scary, a very real situation,” explained Dorff.

Sitting in his living room Wednesday, he showed FOX 11 a binder full of notes from what happened on September 14, 2006.

He says senior Matt Atkinson told school leaders classmates were planning an attack on the school.

Dorff recalled what took place that day, telling FOX 11, before first period, the associate principal radioed him to the office.

"He said Matt gave me some information and proceeded to tell me what he had learned. Matt had learned that two of our students had been planning to carry out a Columbine like attack as they called it. They were planning on bringing guns, homemade explosives, chaining the doors shut and start shooting the place up," said Dorff.

He said that’s when the two students were pulled out of class, as authorities searched their lockers. However, nothing was found in their lockers, but when investigators searched the student’s homes they found a number of weapons.

“There were weapons, there was a homemade bomb, there was some sort of small shooting range in the one basement, obviously these kids were thinking about, they were preparing for it for some time,” said Detective Jim Runge, with the Green Bay Police Department.

Runge was on the force at the time and says if Atkinson hadn’t come forward, who knows what would’ve happened.

“Doing the right thing is not always easy, but think of if Matt knew this and didn't say anything and something awful happened how much worst it would have been or could've been,” explained Runge.

Dorff says since that day security measures inside schools have changed.

"Camera systems, and again people monitoring the doors, the doors being locked, having a pass through system where you can only come through part way and you have to be buzzed in. All these things have happened since then,” explained Dorff.

Dorff says he’s thankful that Atkinson came forward, a reminder to students now that when they see something, or hear something they need to speak up.

The two students responsible for the plot were convicted of conspiracy to commit first-degree intentional homicide, and sentenced to prison.

A third teen and former student also served 18 months in prison for conspiracy to damage property with explosives.

All three have since been released.

Atkinson is still living in Green Bay.

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