DENVER – At least three Colorado students face misdemeanor charges for making threats to their schools this week, just days after 17 people were shot and killed at a Florida high school.
Several school districts across the state stepped up security this week after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. last week, but students in Jefferson County and Mesa County were issued charges relating to threats Monday and Tuesday.
A high school student in Jefferson County Schools could potentially face charges on more than 100 counts of harassment, and interfering with school operations, after he allegedly took a friend’s picture, added a caption that threatened violence, and posted the image to Snapchat for students at Dakota Ridge and Columbine high schools to see.
School officials said the threat was meant to be a joke, but after 60 students reported the threat on an anonymous app, and more than 200 calls were made to 911, the student was contacted by law enforcement.
“You can’t say bomb on a plane. You can’t say fire in a theater. And you certainly can’t say shooting at a school,” said John McDonald, the executive director of security and emergency management for Jefferson County Schools.
And on Tuesday, two students at Caprock Academy in Grand Junction were arrested and issued summons on charges of interference with staff, faculty, or students of an education institution—a class 1 misdemeanor.
Grand Junction police said the two students were overheard talking about the Florida shooting and “making comments that were perceived as threatening to the safety of the school.”
Police said several students who overheard the conversation reported it to school staffers, who then alerted police.
Police said there was ultimately no immediate threat to safety at the campus, but the teens, ages 15 and 16, were summonsed and released to their parents.
The latest arrests come after teenager at Grand Junction High School was arrested a day after the Florida shooting when he allegedly bragged that he could have done more damage.
“We want to commend the students who were brave enough to report this to school staff. It’s imperative that students are able to be the eyes and ears of our schools, and that they feel safe in reporting something that could protect themselves, their fellow students, and their teachers,” the police department said. “Please continue to encourage your kids to speak out about anything they believe could indicate a threat to their safety or the safety of others.”