A fourth-grade boy is under investigation after classmates told parents he made a threat to bring a gun to school.Parents told 7NEWS they started hearing about the threat from their kids and not initially from the school.
Police Responded After Parents Reported Incident
Police confirmed with 7NEWS that they opened an investigation after parents reported the incident."We heard from children that the little boy in question had been going around saying that he was going to celebrate Columbine and bring a gun to school," said parent Amanda Ogden. "Parents had called the police and the police showed up at the school then."
School Principal Sent Letter Home
The school principal sent home a letter on Monday letting parents know about the investigation and police involvement.
Dear Edison Families:I want to inform you of a safety issue that arose last week at our school. Officers from DPS Safety and Security and the Denver Police Department were at Edison today to investigate some threats that were allegedly made by a male student against other students.The student involved is not currently in school. We are working closely with the district and the police department to ensure that the matter is investigated fully and the appropriate security and disciplinary measures are taken. We are also working with the district to review how this matter was reported.Nothing is more important to me than the safety of our students and keeping our community informed of serious incidents that affect the school. Please remind your children that threatening others is a very serious matter and not something that can be taken lightly or should be taken lightly by anyone.As always, please contact me if you have any questions.Sally Whitelock Principal
"The fact that it took into the next week to be informed, even vaguely, of some kind of breach of security in my child's elementary school is really disconcerting," said parent Stephanie Wickliff. "It seems to me that it shouldn't take three, four or five days for us to get wind of something."
District Security Chief Sends Letter Home
On Wednesday, the district's security chief sent a letter home detailing two incidents from the week before that are under investigation.
Dear Edison Families:This letter is to provide some information on the safety incidents that occurred at Edison last week and to update you on the review that is being conducted by DPS Safety and Security and the Denver Police Department.Last week, there were two incidents involving reports of threats made by a male student against other students. The first incident occurred Tuesday and was reported to DPS Safety and Security for a threat analysis. The second incident occurred before school on Thursday, and the reports indicate that the same male student allegedly made a threat that involved reference to a gun. That incident is currently being reviewed by the Denver Police Department. That review includes talking to the students involved, conducting a threat assessment, and talking to Edison staff members about how that incident was reported.The male student who is alleged to have made the threats has not been on campus since Thursday. Security officers have found no evidence of any weapon being on school grounds, and no reports have been received that a weapon of any kind has been on campus during this time.The Denver Public Schools Incident Reporting and Emergency Management Notification Protocol states that police and DPS Safety and Security should be notified for any incident that involves violence or threats of violence of any kind resulting in the potential for or actual injury to students, staff, or property. All school employees also have the responsibility to report any information about a students safety being in danger.The district takes these protocols very seriously, as they are integral to ensuring the safety of our campuses.The entire Edison staff has been very cooperative in assisting in the review of this matter. The district must allow the police investigation to be completed prior to conducting its own review.Thank you. Edward Ray, Chief Denver Public Schools Safety and Security
Parents Question School Response
"Until right now I didn't know anything about a threat last Tuesday," said Ellis. "If there was some sort of threat on Tuesday, I wonder why we weren't informed.""If no one from the school alerted police, should they have?" asked reporter Marshall Zelinger."The principal should have alerted the police," said Ogden. "Anytime a gun is mentioned in school, we need to make sure that all the children are safe.""The second that any kind of security situation is mentioned at my child's school, of course it sends any parent into a state of panic," said Wickliff.
Did School Violate District Reporting Policy?
7NEWS wanted to know if school employees violated the district's reporting policy by not calling police.In the district's letter to parents, the security chief wrote that police should be notified for any incident that involves threats of violence.7NEWS asked the district if police had been notified by anyone from the school prior to parents contacting police. District spokesman Michael Vaughn said the situation is "under review."He told 7NEWS that principals are required to go through emergency training to learn the procedures to follow. He said she was still on the job at the elementary school."Does it seem like someone violated that policy?" asked Zelinger."Absolutely," said Ellis."I think we were just disappointed that the lines of communication are not better," said Ogden.
No Weapon Found At School
In the letter sent home to parents, the district's security chief said that no evidence of any weapon was found on school grounds.The fourth-grade boy has not been at school since the reported threat from Thursday. Denver Police told 7NEWS that the student has been asked to stay home until they can investigate further.