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NEWS RELEASE #22
Feb. 14, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tollgate Principal Responds to Report of 7-Year Old Taking a Gun to School

At this time, I am not giving media interviews because my focus is on Tollgate Elementary students, parents and staff.   Thank you for respecting this. In addition to meeting with parents, I sent letters to parents on Feb. 13 and today (included below).

Today at Tollgate, teachers, our school psychologist, our community liaison and I spoke with students about this issue.  We reassured students that our school is safe and that any  student who violates our district policy will receive disciplinary consequences.  We also reminded students to tell us if they know that another student has a weapon or if they feel unsafe.  After a situation such as this, it is best to keep things as normal as possible for children. As a result, we continued with our regular school day. 

I am still investigating specifics, but here is what I know based on my preliminary investigation.  A student did bring a handgun to school.  It appears that one or more students may have been aware of this and may have handled the gun. Fortunately, no one was injured.  Students did report this to staff members who took possession of the weapon.

This news is upsetting for all of our community.  I want to emphasize how seriously I take this situation.  Ensuring student safety and maintaining a safe school so that students can learn every day is my top priority.   

Federal law prohibits me from commenting on individual student discipline matters.  However, I can say that under district policy a child who brings a firearm to school will be recommended for expulsion.  In such a case, a child would be immediately suspended pending an investigation, and expulsion would follow assuming the investigation revealed that the alleged misconduct had, in fact, occurred.

If you do present a news report on this incident, please urge parents and students to report any unsafe situation to a trusted adult.  School staff members are committed to doing what is best for students.  By working together as a community, we can keep our schools safe and ensure maximum learning for every child. 

Thank you.

Laurie Godwin
Principal, Tollgate Elementary School

 

Letter 1
Feb. 13, 2006

Dear Parents/Guardians:

Today we had a serious situation at our school.  Staff members found students with a weapon in their possession.  I am working with the Aurora Police Department to investigate the matter.  Our school and district have a zero-tolerance weapons policy as safety is our top priority; any student who has a weapon at school will face severe disciplinary action. 

Once I learn the circumstances of this situation, I will take appropriate measures in accordance with the Aurora Public Schools’ disciplinary policy and state law. 

It is important that we work together to keep our school a safe place.  Please encourage your children to talk with you, teachers or other adults if they observe dangerous behaviors or if they have any safety concerns.  If they suspect that another student has a weapon at school, urge them to report this immediately.

Please know that our staff is committed to providing your child a safe and positive learning experience.  Please contact me if you have additional questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Laurie Godwin, Principal
Tollgate Elementary School

 

Letter 2
February 14, 2006 
 
Dear Tollgate families:  

This is a follow-up to the letter I sent yesterday regarding a student who brought a weapon to school.  I am still investigating specifics, but here is what I know based on my preliminary investigation.  A student did bring a handgun to school.  It appears that one or more students may have been aware of this and may have handled the gun. Fortunately no one was injured.  Students did report this to staff members who took possession of the weapon.

This news is upsetting for all of our community.  I want to emphasize how seriously I take this situation.  Ensuring student safety and maintaining a safe school so that students can learn every day is my top priority.   

Today, teachers, our school psychologist, our family liaison and I spoke with students about this issue.  We reassured students that our school is safe and that any student(s) who violates school and district policies will receive disciplinary consequences.  We also reminded students to tell us if they know that another student has a weapon or if they feel unsafe.  Child psychologists recommend that after a situation such as this, it is best to keep things as normal as possible for children. As a result, we continued with our regular school day.

Federal law prohibits me from commenting on individual student discipline matters.  However, I can say that under district policy a child who brings a firearm to school will be recommended for expulsion from school.  In such a case that child would be immediately suspended pending an investigation and expulsion would follow assuming the investigation revealed that the misconduct alleged had in fact occurred.

Please talk with your children about this situation.  Reassure them that Tollgate staff members are committed to keeping our school safe.  Also urge your children to report any unsafe behavior to you or a trusted adult.  Together we can provide your children the best learning experiences possible. 

Thank you for your support and cooperation at this difficult time. 

Sincerely,
 
Laurie Godwin, Principal
Tollgate Elementary School

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Communication Services

Georgia Durán, Director
303-344-8060, ext. 28015
FAX: 303-326-1939
e-mail: georgiad@admin.aps.k12.co.us
http://www.aps.k12.co.us/communications

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