I hope you had a safe and happy Thanksgiving. I know that many of you likely have safety concerns after the recent incidents involving gun violence near Aurora Central and Hinkley high schools. Please know that the safety of our students and staff is always our top priority. We would like to inform you of what additional security measures and mental health supports we will have available for students and staff when they return to school tomorrow.
We are working closely with the Aurora Police Department (APD) to keep our students and staff safe as they lead the investigation into these two shootings. At this time, the Aurora Police Department says they believe the incidents were not related.
We have also received messages from Safe-2-Tell with tips and information. We take each message very seriously and we work with Safe-2-Tell and APD to follow up on them. We continue to encourage our students to report any safety concerns, including possible social media threats, to a trusted adult or anonymously through Safe-2-Tell at 1-877-542-7233.
ADDITIONAL SECURITY MEASURES
In addition to the strong safety plans we have in place every day, we are putting the following additional measures in place:
Exceptions to this will include: students leaving for classes at the Community College of Aurora and Pickens Technical College, students leaving the school with parent/guardian permission, students attending supervised athletics/activities, and students attending field trips with supervision. Students should check in with the main office prior to leaving campus.
Parking lots will be considered off-limits and students may not go to their vehicles during the day without permission from the office. We will maintain this protocol at all of our high schools until Winter Break. We will determine at that time if we will continue with this protocol through the second semester and share that information with you.
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORTS
I recognize that our students and staff may have difficulty dealing with these violent acts within our community. We will have counseling support available at all of our schools. If your student would like to speak with a counselor, please contact your school’s front office.
As shared previously, this online resource from the National Association of School Psychologists may also be helpful as you talk to students at home about acts of violence.
Please remember that anyone can also call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 any time, day or night. They are available to help and support students and families.
As a reminder, all APS employees also have free, 24-hour, confidential access to counseling services offered through our Employee Assistance Program.
This is a difficult time in our community. Let us continue to work together to keep our community safe. Thank you for your continued support.