ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — Ten months after the siege on Arapahoe high school, no one has waited longer for answers than Michael and Desiree Davis who lost their daughter Claire.
They listened intently as the Arapahoe County Sheriff meticulously described evidence including the diary of the Karl Pierson, who the sheriff said had long planned the shooting. They released a letter asking the community to heal, forgive and help treat disturbed students like Pierson.
“I will shoot up my school before the year is over,” Arapahoe County Sheriff David Walcher said as he read an entry out of Pierson’s diary. Read the full report about the crime here.
People at the meeting were there for other reasons.
“If I had a child at that school I wouldn’t think my child was safe,” said Marty Jacobi who is the step mom of Cameron Rust. He was one of the security guards at Arapahoe High School the day of the shooting.
“Do I believe there was a cover up? Yes, I do.” Jacobi said.
Most at the meeting had fewer questions about how the shooting happened and more questions about whether the school principal and Superintendent Scott Murphy could have prevented it.
But, Murphy refused to answer those questions citing the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act which protects students records.
“As I said in my individual remarks we do not speak about specific students or employees,” Murphy said. When asked whether he thought parents deserved a better answer than that, murphy said, “I think you’ve heard my answer.”
But a 2008 letter from the United Stated Department of Education director Leroy S. Rooker says very clearly, deceased students do not qualify for FERPA protections.
“There is exception to the consent requirement that would allow you to disclose this information unless the information comes from the records of deceased eligible students,” Rooker said.
Since that day, two different security guards have alleged the school was aware Pierson was actively looking for guns and even had made specific threats to kill his teacher Traci Murphy.
“The told us not to write anything down,” said security guard Cameron Rust in February. Rust says the school wanted no paper trail showing their knowledge of Rust’s plans.
Since then Rust and another security guard say they have been shut out by Littleton Public Schools.
In a statement the Davis family says they remain committed to forgiveness.
“‘The people of Colorado deserve more than to have to sit idly waiting for the next student in imminent crisis to harm or kill another person,” the statement said.
Only they know whether superintendent’s answers were enough.