Cherry Creek School District board gets ‘perceived bomb threat’

Threat directed at Feb. 14 school board meeting; district to hold meeting virtually

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The Cherry Creek school board held its Feb. 14 regular meeting at a “location under secured perimeter” due to a perceived bomb threat that targeted the school board meeting, according to a post on the school board meeting webpage.

The threat was issued by “an individual with a documented criminal history,” the post said.

“Recently, other metro school districts have received similar threats directed towards their boards and/or superintendents. Thus, we will be taking appropriate precautions,” the post said.

The post didn’t offer details about when or how the district received the threat or elaborate further on the threat’s nature.

Greenwood Village police investigated the situation and didn’t find any credible threats, so the police department is not taking further action, according to police Cmdr. Joe Gutgsell.

Authorities became aware of the potential threat the night of Feb. 11 through Safe2Tell, an anonymous reporting tip line and online platform commonly used in school communities, according to Gutgsell.

Some type of communication that was reported included a bomb emoji, but the subject never mentioned a bomb specifically, Gutgsell said.

No schools or other district buildings were put on lockdown or secure perimeter related to the threat, Abbe Smith, district spokesperson, said at about 4:20 p.m. Feb. 14.

Some schools were on secure perimeter status in Aurora for reasons unrelated to the bomb threat, but they were taken off that status, Smith said.  

The only impact of the threat was to the scheduled school board meeting, which had been set to take place at West Middle School in Greenwood Village, Smith said.

The board’s 5 p.m. study-session meeting was canceled, the post said.

The potential threat in Cherry Creek came against the backdrop of threats sent to Littleton Public Schools Superintendent Brian Ewert and the Littleton school board — including death threats — following controversy over a district-hosted COVID vaccine clinic. 

Those threats began shortly after two videos surfaced showing a 15-year-old Littleton High School student and a 16-year-old homeschooled student lying to clinic staff at Heritage High School on Jan. 21 about age and parental consent as part of a deliberate attempt to shut down the clinic.

The perceived threat to the Cherry Creek school board did not appear to be connected to the threats that the Littleton school district recently received, Smith said.  

A Jefferson County school board study session on Feb. 9 was abruptly closed to the public, and the Jefferson County Education Center was secured due to a direct threat made against Superintendent Tracy Dorland and district leadership. In the notice about that incident sent to families of district students, no further information was given.

The regular 7 p.m. Cherry Creek school board meeting on Feb. 14 was live streamed over Zoom. Members of the public who signed up for public comment by noon Feb. 14 were able to speak over Zoom during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Cherry Creek school board member Angela Garland expressed concern about threats in her remarks during the meeting.

“Such threats impact our students’ and families’ sense of safety (and) security and must not be tolerated,” Garland said.

Cherry Creek Superintendent Christopher Smith was “disturbed and saddened” that the board couldn’t hold its meeting as planned, but given recent threats made against nearby school districts, Cherry Creek needed to take the potential threat seriously, he said.

“We’re making sure we’re keeping not only ourselves but our community safe,” Superintendent Smith said.

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