AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — The Aurora Public Schools superintendent has beefed up security and is offering mental health resources for students and staff after two shootings in one week. Six students were shot near Central High and three were shot in the parking lot at Hinkley High.
Rico Munn announced Saturday at a gathering for peaceful prayer at Nome Park, where one of the shootings occurred, that campus would be closed during lunch for students. Munn extended that closure for the entire day with a few exceptions.
“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,” Munn said in a release.
Students are not allowed to go to their cars in the parking lot during school hours without permission.
The Aurora Police Department will have more presence on and around APS campuses.
All restrictions will remain in place until winter break. Officials will decide after then whether or not the protocol will continue for the next semester.
Mental health resources for students and staff
The safety of the students and staff isn’t the only thing being addressed, their mental well-being is also a concern. Munn reminds students they can reach out to their school counselors to help them get through the violent incidents.
The National Association of School Psychologists and the Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 are other options for APS students and families.
APS staff can utilize the employee assistance program to reach out.
Concerned students and parents can call in tips and concerns anonymously through Safe-2-Tell at 1-877-542-7233.
Aurora councilwoman says more needs to be done
The Youth Violence Prevention Program manager was hired just over six months ago but Aurora City Councilwoman Alison Coombs said more needs to be done.
“The main issue is that at this point we have only prevention programs in place. We don’t have intervention for when we know that kids are already getting involved in gangs and other potential violent criminal activities,” Coombs said. “And we don’t have interruption programs for when we know something is likely to occur.”
An update from the program’s manager is scheduled for Dec. 14.