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.”
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.
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.”