JOHNSTOWN, Colo. — A series of threats forced a northern Colorado high school to be evacuated – and a nearby elementary school was placed on lockout, all while police moved in Tuesday.
The RE-5J district said Roosevelt High School was the target of an alleged bomb threat and shooting. Students had to evacuate but police used bomb sniffing dogs to clear the building, and deemed the situation safe on Tuesday afternoon. The school was closed for the rest of the day.
Parents told FOX31 students at RHS planned a walkout on Tuesday to protest teachers being placed on administrative leave. But as that walkout was about to happen – RHS received a Safe2tell report of a threat.
According to the district, the caller said if students participated in the planned walk-out, someone would open fire on them. It went on to say there was a bomb inside the school.
Johnstown and Loveland police responded and placed RHS on lockout, as well as nearby Letford Elementary. Officers then evacuated the high school. The district said many students refused to follow protocol and participated in the walk-out to the district’s administration building. This situation left parent, Jennifer Sorensen worried.
“My son came to school and in second period he texted me and said no one is here. I said what’s going on and he said there’s only 11 kids in my class. Then we got a notice about a lockout. My son said that didn’t do anything the kids walked out anyway,” Sorensen said.
The superintendent told FOX31 two teachers in the Weld RE-5J district are currently on leave due to active police investigations. Another teacher was placed on paid administration leave on Friday as the district works to find a solution to an issue that happened in his classroom.
Sorensen wants answers.
“With all these other suspensions of the teachers and they’re just disappearing dropping like flies you have no idea what’s really going on.”
Parents told FOX31 they plan to pack the school board meeting taking place on Wednesday at 6 p.m. It will be held at the Weld County Administration Building.
Here is the full statement from the district concerning the events of December 4:
Dear Weld RE-5J Families:
Several events taking place in our district today require your attention. This will be one of multiple communications to our community. These communications will also be placed on our website and Facebook page.
We received a Safe2Tell report this morning regarding a bomb threat at Roosevelt High School (RHS). The report indicated that if the RHS students participated in the planned walk-out today that there would be a person that would open fire on them. It also stated that there was a bomb at RHS. This report initially resulted in a lockout for RHS, which was the target of the alleged bomb threat and potential shooting, as well as a lockout for Letford Elementary School because of its proximity to RHS. This lockout was under the direction of the Johnstown Police Department. This law enforcement agency later required the evacuation of RHS students to Grace Community Church, utilizing the district’s evacuation and reunification, so that they could continue their investigation of the bomb threat that was reported through Safe2Tell. Bomb sniffing dogs went through RHS and the building has now been cleared by the Johnstown Police Department and the Weld County Sheriff’s Department.
Colorado Revised Statutes prohibits us from showing the report that was received via Safe2Tell. The Safe2Tell Law is: CRS Sec 24-31-601. If you need clarification on the Safe2Tell law, please call 1-720-508-6800 (administrative office for Safe2Tell).
While the district’s evacuation and reunification plan is to transport students to Grace Community Church, many students refused to follow the protocol. Some of these students walked or drove away on their own, with some of these students gathering at the district’s administration offices and others to unknown locations. The failure of the students to follow the evacuation route and the reunification process has resulted in the difficulty and delay for many parents in reuniting with their children.
The safety of our students is of highest priority to all employees in the district. The district must take any threats received through Safe2Tell seriously, and we always work closely with and follow the instructions of our partner law enforcement agencies. On the occasions that the district must engage a lockout or an evacuation of a school, we need everyone to follow the safety and security plans. Cooperation by everyone from the students and staff, parents, and law enforcement, to the community is critical. We ask that everyone do their part to help keep our students safe.
Additionally, hundreds of high school students missed out on educational opportunities today due to this threat. We want to make it clear to anyone who made false threats that the disruption of the educational environment is unacceptable. Students need to be aware that law enforcement agencies are taking these types of threats very seriously and are pursuing prosecution even when such incidents are intended as pranks.
Updates for this afternoon’s events: All high school sports and activities will continue this afternoon as planned. The Pioneer Ridge Elementary School choir concert tonight is canceled because the students were not able to go to the Roosevelt High School performing arts center today for rehearsal. Pioneer Ridge Elementary will update the parents and students when the event is rescheduled.
Weld RE-5J Superintendent of Schools