JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. – Jefferson County Public Schools has seen a record number of suspicious activity reports at schools around the county in the wake of the Florida high school shooting.
Security officials for Jefferson County Public Schools tweeted Saturday they had received a record 164 Safe2Tell tips sent in by students in their district just this week alone.
A record 164 safe2tell reports sent in by jeffco students in 1 week. We are protectors & advocates for our students. This is our duty.
— JEFFCO R1 Security (@JEFFCOsecurity) February 24, 2018
Authorities around the state have been quick to respond to an apparent surge of threats to schools by beefing up security and making several arrests amid heightened anxiety following the Valentine’s Day shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
A 13-year-old Grand Junction student from East Middle School was arrested Thursday morning and released on a summons to his parents for making statements to other students about carrying out a school shooting. That arrest marked the fifth in Grand Junction. Two 15-year-olds, a 16-year-old and a 5th grader were arrested in four separate incidents over the past several days.
About 30 miles south of Grand Junction, another Western Slope teen is facing charges. A 15-year-old was arrested on February 15 in Delta after reports that a gun was brought to school. No shots were fired, but the school was placed on lockdown during the incident
Other parts of the state have not been spared the scare of a possible shooting on campus.
Largely fueled by social media, threats of possible school shootings have also been reported in Brighton, Westminster, Englewood and Lakewood.
At Brighton High School, Principal John Biner sent a letter to parents Thursday, informing them a student had tipped them off about a vague threatening message. School officials and law enforcement said the threat was unfounded.
Students at Westminster High School were released at noon that same day following a threat made on Snapchat. While the threat was found not to be credible, the student who made it was charged in the incident, according to police.
On Wednesday, Englewood Middle School officials sent a letter to parents following a student tip regarding a rumored gun on campus. Police there said they were investigating “several Safe2Tell tips regarding potential school shootings.”
A day prior, JeffCo Public Schools said the district received several reports about the threat against Bear Creek High School. Officials said a student was taken into custody after the threat was posted on social media.
President Donald Trump doubles down on arming teachers
A week after the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School, President Donald Trump held a listening session with parents and students affected by school mass shootings.
During the session, President Trump suggested arming teachers with guns would deter shooters from killing more people in future mass shootings.
“If you had a teacher with, who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly,” Trump said.
After facing backlash from parents, educators, doctors and even artists, Trump doubled down on his proposal Saturday, tweeting armed educators should get a yearly bonus if they're trained to handle guns. The decision to arm them, he said, should be left to each state.
Armed Educators (and trusted people who work within a school) love our students and will protect them. Very smart people. Must be firearms adept & have annual training. Should get yearly bonus. Shootings will not happen again - a big & very inexpensive deterrent. Up to States.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2018
Earlier this week, a Colorado House committee voted 6-3 to defeat a bill that would have allowed teachers to carry firearms in schools with nothing more than a concealed carry permit.
Denver Public Schools responds
Responding to Trump’s suggestion that arming teachers would prevent mass shootings from happening again, Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg said in a letter sent Friday that schools “should be places of learning, exploration and joy where we celebrate our kids’ growth. They should never be hardened bunkers bristling with firearms.”
In the letter, Boasberg also stated DPS school officials “couldn’t disagree more strongly with President Trump and the National Rifle Association that they key to student safety is putting more guns in our schools or “hardening our schools,” turning them into prison-like fortresses.”
You can read the letter in full here.
Authorities are encouraging parents to remind children of the importance of immediately report anything they perceive as a threat or safety issue.
If you think there's suspicious activity around you, make a report using your smartphone by downloading the Safe2Tell Colorado mobile app from the Apple Store or Google Play or by calling 1-877-542-7233 to speak to a live, trained dispatcher.
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