Standley Lake HS closed Tuesday after student lights self on fire

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WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- A student walked into the Standley Lake High School cafeteria on Monday morning and set himself on fire, causing severe injuries to himself and causing the evacuation and closure of the high school.

The Westminster High School was open Tuesday only for students to come back and retrieve items they may have left behind in the evacuation. Classes remained cancelled, but counseling services were being offered for students.

A 16-year-old sophomore walked into the school around 7 a.m. on Monday, and used a one-gallon can of Coleman fuel.

"I saw this explosion happening in the lunch room," Leif Samson said. "Everyone started running out screaming, 'Fire!' I just grabbed my backpack and ran upstairs, and I looked out the windows overlooking the cafeteria. That's when I found out it was a guy on fire."

Two employees used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire quickly, according to Westminster Police spokeswoman Cheryl Spottke, but not before the student suffered severe burns. One of the first emergency responders estimated he had third degree burns over 80 percent of his body.

Police believe the student only intended to harm himself.

"We do believe that this was a suicide attempt we don't have any indication at this point that there was a threat against Standley Lake High School or any other school in Westminster," Spottke said.

"This is just such a tragedy," Jefferson County Schools spokesperson Lynn Setzer said. "Our hearts and our prayers go out to the family and to the school community and to the students who were here (Monday) morning."

Investigators later searched Nett's home, where they learned about a suicide note posted on Facebook that claims he had been planning his own public death for years.

"We're in high school," a girl who knew Nett said. "No life should end or even think about ending like this. It's so wrong to think that I'm not going to see him or talk to him again."

One of the cafeteria workers also suffered minor injuries when she broke the glass to access the fire extinguisher, Spottke said. Spottke also confirmed there were students in the cafeteria who witnessed the student lighting himself on fire.

Nett was taken to a hospital right away Monday morning. He was in critical condition. Friends left flowers outside his home, wondering if they could've helped.

Jefferson County Schools has not said when classes will resume at Standley Lake.


  • Erinmarie

    We as parents need to figure out what is going on with our children
    This is by far too often happening in our schools
    Bombs shootings suicides
    My 4 children have either graduated and are still going to Standley lake I know personally that this school does nothing to handle bullying which is a much bigger problem these days then when I was in school
    God help us

  • Kim

    You are correct Erinmarie. It use to be the bullys were put in their place by the other kids. Now, if a kid stands up to the bully, the kid gets in trouble instead of the bully. Zero tolerance has not worked. Parents need to parent instead of letting them watch TVand play violent video games all day. Kids need direction and they need to be given chores and responsilities. I pulled my daughter from public school and she is homeschooled. She has chores to do daily and has responsilities regarding school work and taking care of her pets. I know her friends AND their parents. She is way above her grade level in several subjects and is not held back by a bunch a kids who either need a cop or a babysitter all day.

  • Anonymous

    A bully didn’t start this. In fact, he didn’t have a lot of bullies. He felt as if he was a waste of flesh even though he wasn’t.
    He attempted to leave this world because he thought other people would be better off.

  • AC

    This is so sad that this happened. I try to be involved in my daughters life as much as I can. Kids are dealing with alot of things we always have been but instead of blaming bullies or every one else get active see what is going on. Yes I know there are bullies but there are other issues as well. I hope the family of the student who did this themselves get the help they need.

  • D.J.

    Time to “BAN” lighters and excelerants. Come on Hickenlooper we know it’s already crossed your mind. Feel bad for the family and those involved. Schools do NOTHING to prevent this stuff. There must have been some underlying issues that were ignored.

  • CK

    I was a student at Standely Lake years ago, I’m 23 now and my mom told me about this. Now when I attended SLHS, I went into a depression and attempted to harm myself a few times too. They even suspended me cause they thought that my depression would cause me to pull a Columbine. With how suspicious the teachers were of kids who were a little different, I wouldn’t be surprised if he experienced the same, fell into a depression, his mom put him on some anti depressant that contained a base of pcp, and he felt compelled to do a demonstration that only a mind twisted with drugs could justify doing.

  • AJ

    Quit blaming the schools and start taking ownership. Take a look at where these events are happening that the media loves to sensationalize these events. More crazier things are happening in urban low income schools everyday but yet you don’t see the media reporting on these incidents why not? Because we in the mainstream middle class pretend they simply don’t exist and can’t believe when something tragic happens in one of our schools. We spend billions of dollars on our escapes such as pro sports, entertainment and electronic gadgets so that we don’t have to deal with all the realities of life. We try to protect our kids by keeping them at home instead of letting learn how to interact socially with other kids. Well guess what America we had better wake-up and start dealing with reality before we go the way of the Romans and dinosaurs. This poor teenager could have just as easily gone to a mall or a movie theater and done the same thing or worse he could have chosen to try and kill innocent bystanders before attempting suicide. Get a grip America and start looking at what do all these tragic events have in common and it sure in the hell ain’t guns.

  • Chris

    My son graduated from Standley Lake last year and my son had occasional problems, the counseling department was very good and helpful when he was depressed over life events. I do understand however that not all kids reach out for help, I was one such kid myself and attempted suicide at age 15. I hope this kid finds the love and help he or she needs now that they have shown they need help and love very badly. I wish I could give every kid that ever felt that way a hug and let them know that life does indeed get better. Please don’t give up *hug*

  • Kristi Hopkins

    Prayers for all impacted :( My son was there and said it all happened so fast. The boy is a friend….And had a lot of issues. Thank you to the cafeteria workers who acted quickly and bravely-

  • mIKE

    Do you think some of these problems started when Dr Spock wrote his book on how to bring up children and so many followed his ways and not the ways we were brought up??? Nothing wrong with a spanking, Calling elders by Mr or Mrs, being taught respect, value of life, not to pick on kids that have less than you, share with others, fight your own battles. Today kids bring themselves up with no guidance and this is what you have. Give me a time out in my room with my cell phone, internet, television, Neat, give me a spanking because I did wrong and I would think twice before doing wrong again. I got a few spankings in my life and not because my father came home pissed at his work and took it out on me, I did wrong and knew it was coming. I love him for it cause he taught me to be a better person.

  • Linda Benghazi Mitchell

    I seriously cannot believe the responses here. So, it’s bullies; Medications; School; Counselors; AND ancient burial ground. I hope that one is a joke.

    My son also attends Standley Lake. He is a senior and isn’t on the “A” list. He’s part of the AV tech/brainiancs/Super shy/Game club. Everything that would set him up to be bullied. He and i have specifically talked about this topic (see, I actually talk with my son) and he said that it was the first school he attended that he saw very little bullying.

    He too had some issues when his father took off on him and the teachers and counselors were FANTASTIC! They still are. He is choice enrollment because we moved to a different district and he chose to stay at S.L.H.S.

    Most kids are bullied at some point and most are not on the “A” list. Most, if not all, teenagers have issues rise during high school. Counselors can’t be blamed if they are unaware of an issue. Kids give PLENTY of warning signs, and as a parent, it is your responsibility to call the school and alert them regarding your concerns. YES I have done that and I have been more than satisfied with the way they have worked with me. When you lose a parent for any reason, it will cause psychological issues. As his mother it is my responsibility to know what is going on in his life. If you bring a child into this world, do not expect everyone to raise that child! It is YOUR responsibility.

    You seriously want to blame dead Native Americans and counselors!

  • t.l Robb

    actually.,setting aside the utter usele$$ness of POSitions such as guidance counselors (pseudo shrinks) & voice principals (sadistic paddle wielding bullies) has anyone considered that there just MIGHT be a link between forced ritalin (a methamphetamine derivative) consumption in prepubescents and corresponding anti-social behaviour in adolsescence.? on a different note, when hunter/gun safety was a required part of boys gym, irresponsible firearm use was reare, indeed.

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