Cedaredge school delays details of reported threat
An investigation into a report of a possible threat against a Grand Junction school was hindered by administrators at a Cedaredge alternative school who initially refused to provide police with the names of a teacher and student who had information about the threat.
Police said as of late Thursday afternoon they had not substantiated the threat. But Interim Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper said he was “shocked and disappointed” by the lack of cooperation from the Surface Creek VISION Home and Community Program.
“This situation could have been resolved (Wednesday) night before school ever started (Thursday) morning,” Camper said. “In this post-Columbine day and age, we’ve simply got to work together.”
Interim Cedaredge Police Chief Dan Sanders said he received a voice-mail message Wednesday from Amy Miller, the director of the Surface Creek school. He returned her call about 4 p.m. Wednesday and said she told him a teacher at the school had spoken with a student about a possible school threat.
The student said he was communicating online with a Grand Junction girl who had heard that an incident involving weapons would take place at a school in Grand Junction, Sanders said. But Miller refused to give him the names of the teacher and student.
“I was frustrated at the beginning,” Sanders said, noting he believes any other school within Delta County School District 50J would have cooperated immediately and given him the information he was seeking.
He said he forwarded the information to Grand Junction police, who contacted Surface Creek and asked to speak with the teacher and student. Again, school administrators declined to give police their names, Grand Junction Police Department spokeswoman Kate Porras said.
With limited information to go on, police contacted the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, the Palisade and Fruita police departments and School District 51 officials and instructed all school resource officers to be on high alert and extra vigilant at their schools Thursday.
Police also dispatched extra officers to patrol schools, Porras said.
At 2 p.m. Thursday, Surface Creek officials notified Grand Junction police they would provide the names of the teacher and student. They then provided them about an hour later, Porras said
“We were hoping to be able to immediately contact the teacher and student so we could learn more,” she said. “To not have that information until 3 p.m. (Thursday) is very alarming for us.”
Porras said officers planned to interview the teacher and student.
School principals sent e-mails to parents about the incident, and School District 51 posted a note on its Web site. Classes were to be held as scheduled today.
No one answered the phone at the Surface Creek school Thursday afternoon. Miller couldn’t be reached for comment.
Grand Junction police are continuing to investigate the reported threat. They ask anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 241-STOP, send the information via the Web at http://www.241stop.com, or text a tip to CRIMES (274637) with the word TIP729 in the message.