PARK COUNTY, Colo. — A Park County family says it is furious with the Platte Canyon School District after their daughter was reportedly placed in a police car and was on her way to a hospital before they were notified.
Tenth grader Ashley Gray says she went to the Platte Canyon High School counselor on Wednesday because she needed someone to talk to.
“I was just having a bad day and I needed someone to talk to in the heat of the moment, so I went to our counselor,” Gray said.
She says she told the counselor she had previously had thoughts of ending her life.
According to Gray, an hour later, she was in the back of a squad car being taken to the Children’s Hospital South Campus in Highlands Ranch — more than 45 minutes away.
“I knew I wasn’t in trouble. But for some reason, this whole situation made it seem like I was in trouble and that I shouldn’t have gone and talked to anyone, which isn’t right because everyone’s told when you’re thinking those things you should tell an adult,” Gray said.
School district Superintendent Mike Schmidt said he cannot talk specifically about the case because of privacy laws, but issued the following statement:
“As in most public schools, our mental health team uses a risk assessment process that is relatively common. Included in that process is the use of a risk assessment screening tool, by the team, to try to determine the level of risk. We will only request transport to a mental health facility if our team determines that there exists an imminent risk of self-harm or harm to others based on the best information we have. ‘Imminent risk’ typically involves an unusual amount of specificity. Parents are always contacted at some point during the process and are instrumental in supporting the student moving forward.”
Gray says she didn’t make any specific threats and when she tried to call her parents, her cellphone was confiscated.
“Before I was put into the car, I asked if my mom had been called and if she knew what was happening and where I was going. And I was told not yet,” Gray said.
Ashley’s father, Maverick Gray, says he found out about the situation after his daughter was already on the way to Children’s.
“She was treated worse than a criminal! Her phone was taken away, she was imprisoned in an office, and then in the back of a squad car,” he said, adding, “First thing, parent needs to be notified. It does not take a village to raise my child, I will raise my child. They should always contact the parent.”
Maverick Gray says he supports the principal and staff at Platte Canyon, but wishes the situation was handled differently.
“Once we turn the child over to the school at 7 a.m., apparently they have the right to do whatever they want and not notify the parents. This was just crazy,” he said.
The family is still waiting for its bill from Children’s.