CORTEZ, Colo. (AP) — A sheriff’s deputy will be disciplined over a security check of schools in the southwestern Colorado town of Dolores during which he entered one classroom, pointed his finger like a gun at the teacher, and said, “‘You’re dead,’” officials said.
Montezuma County sheriff’s deputy Donnie Brown and school resource officer Kaylee Green also entered another unlocked class where Brown told the students, “‘We need to shoot your teacher,’” Dolores school district superintendent Phil Kasper said in a letter to parents and staff.
The officers were conducting a security walkthrough of elementary and secondary schools on Aug. 17, Kasper wrote.
The pair interrupted other lessons to lecture teachers about locking their classroom doors, and Brown was chewing tobacco in the tobacco-free schools, Kasper wrote.
Sheriff Steve Nowlin told the Cortez Journal Friday that he and his deputies have become frustrated with school security, but said he takes responsibility for the officers’ actions and “the message delivery was wrong.”
“The behavior was inappropriate,” Nowlin said. “This won’t happen again and never should have happened.”
Brown will be dismissed or reassigned, the sheriff said. Green also faces unspecified disciplinary action, he said.
Brown said in a Sheriff’s Office memo after the security walkthrough that several exterior doors of the high school and preschool were propped open or unsecure and that interior doors of the high school and elementary school were unlocked.
He apologized in an email to Nowlin “for any issues that I might have caused.”
“My only goal in doing the security checks was to assist with safety and security of our children and staff at the schools,” Brown wrote.
Green said in her own Sheriff’s Office memo that she apologized to principals and teachers.
Gary Livick, the principal of Dolores’ elementary school, said school policy is that all outside doors to the school must be locked. Classroom doors may be left open, but the door handles or knobs must be in the locked position so that the door can be pulled closed and locked quickly in case of emergency.
During the Aug. 17 safety check, three classroom door handles were not in the locked position, Livick said. Teachers have been reminded of the policy, he said.