A Big Story--Seen Through a Microscope

As a rule, high schools don't make national news unless something terrible has happened, as was unfortunately the case last spring at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. For this week's 35-page special report, however, TIME chose Webster Groves, a suburb of St. Louis, Mo., in part because it has not been benighted by violence.

In fact, we were attracted to the school because it was...well, remarkably average. Curiously enough, given its serene and unnewsworthy nature, Webster Groves has been the subject of inordinate national attention over the years--happily so in 1996, when President Clinton came to honor the school's antidrug...

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