District to probe pos­si­ble changes

Lit­tle­ton board hears from school safety and vi­o­lence ex­perts.

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Ye­se­nia Robles Ye­se­nia Robles: 303-954-1372, yrob­les@den­ver­post.com or @yese­niarob­les

lit­tle­ton» School safety and vi­o­lence ex­perts ap­peared be­fore the Lit­tle­ton school board Thurs­day night to re­it­er­ate calls for change that were made in re­ports re­leased this week.

Linda Kanan, Univer­sity of Den­ver ad­junct pro­fes­sor, said “the district has come a long way,” but she and other re­port au­thors rec­om­mended more than a dozen changes to ad­dress fail­ures and gaps that be­came ev­i­dent dur­ing their in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the months lead­ing up to the De­cem­ber 2013 shoot­ing at Ara­pa­hoe High School.

Among the rec­om­men­da­tions were that the district take more lead­er­ship over school safety de­ci­sions, that the district col­lect more data cen­trally, and that more train­ing be pro­vided to ad­min­is­tra­tors do­ing threat as­sess­ments.

The school board asked the su­per­in­ten­dent to re­view all the rec­om­men­da­tions, and re­port back to the board April 14.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Brian Ew­ert said af­ter the board meet­ing that one rec­om­men­da­tion he does ex­pect to make is to ask the district to set up guid­ance and over­sight for train­ing stu­dents and staff on how to re­port threats, in­clud­ing us­ing the anony­mous statewide Safe to Tell pro­gram.

He said he will also look at ways to cre­ate small group ad­vi­sory classes to foster bet­ter re­la­tion­ships of adults with stu­dents.

“It makes a huge dif­fer­ence. That’s a valu­able way to ap­proach this,” Ew­ert said.

Michael Dorn, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Safe Havens In­ter­na­tional, cau­tioned the district against nar­row­ing in too closely on school shoot­ing threats. Schools should also plan for sex­ual as­saults, un­safe build­ings or nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, he said.

“There are a num­ber of ar­eas that need to be cov­ered,” Dorn said. “What we don’t want to see is you’ll ig­nore the other ar­eas, and then you’ll have a dif­fer­ent type of tragedy and you’ll go through this all over again.”

Much of Thurs­day’s dis­cus­sion fo­cused on the com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­egy the district used af­ter the shoot­ing.

Ew­ert read from a let­ter is­sued this week, de­fend­ing the district’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­egy and blam­ing the sher­iff’s of­fice in­ves­ti­ga­tion and a re­quest from the district at­tor­ney not to speak about the in­ci­dent for their de­ci­sion to keep much in­for­ma­tion quiet.

Board pres­i­dent Jack Reutzel also de­fended the strat­egy, say­ing many par­ents ap­pre­ci­ated that news cov­er­age of the shoot­ing was not daily.

“It wasn’t typ­i­cal. We didn’t com­mu­ni­cate with the press,” Reutzel said. “We be­lieved we were un­der very tight or­ders. We took that very se­ri­ously.”

Both said the lack of pub­lic com­mu­ni­ca­tion, es­pe­cially with the me­dia, did not mean they did not com­mu­ni­cate with par­ents.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.