Department of Education admits mistakes in school violence data; says Arapahoe shooting was reported

CDE: Littleton School District reported shooting

DENVER - The Colorado Department of Education Thursday confirmed to the CALL7 Investigators that CDE -- not the Littleton Public School District -- made a mistake in its initial public release of the state's annual school violence report, which made it appear that the District had not reported the Dec. 13 fatal shooting at Arapahoe High School.

"This is our mistake," Janelle Asmus, spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Education, said. "We have a system of checks, but clearly they were not enough to catch this error."

CDE provided the 2013-2014 statewide school violence data to the CALL7 Investigators earlier this week. It indicated there were no "1st or 2nd Degree Assaults" or "Dangerous Weapons" reported by Arapahoe High School last year. At the time, CDE confirmed this finding but reversed course Thursday, saying the data was inaccurate, due to a "processing error."

"We discovered that there were some errors in how we had labeled some of the columns in the report, which then resulted in Littleton School District appearing as if they weren't reporting an incident from Arapahoe High School when that was clearly not the case," Asmus said.

A 7NEWS-Denver Post joint investigation in May 2014 exposed widespread under-reporting of crimes on Colorado campuses and lax oversight by the Department of Education. CDE officials repeatedly stated, as recently as this week, that the reporting is based strictly on "discipline" and includes only incidents for which students are punished. Even the department's own website defines the incidents in these reports specifically as "disciplined"

But Thursday, after revealing Littleton Public Schools did report the shooting, Asmus maintained that report was proper, despite the fact that the Arapahoe shooter died and was not disciplined.

"The specific intent of this report was to focus on disciplinary action, however, that's not the only information that is in this report," Asmus said.


If you have a news tip or follow-up to this story, e-mail Keli Rabon. You can also connect with me on Facebook or through Twitter @KeliRabon.

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