Aurora middle schooler could face charges following on-campus fight

Aurora Middle Schooler could face charges following role in on-campus fight
Posted at 10:42 PM, Feb 10, 2022

AURORA, Colo. — Denver7 has learned an Aurora middle school student could face charges following an on-campus fight at Mrachek Middle School.

According to redacted reports filed by the Aurora Police Department, on Nov. 16, 2021, one student was "attacked from behind" by another student. Following an investigation, an officer determined there was probable cause to charge one of the students for her role in the fight.

Lethe Seltzer told Denver7 it was her 14-year-old daughter who was injured during the ordeal.

"She suffered what doctors call a closed head injury," the mother said.

According to one of the police reports completed this month, the student who injured Seltzer's daughter will be issued a municipal summons for assault and battery.

Video of the fight was turned over as evidence to officers. Through sources, Denver7 obtained one of those videos but has chosen not to show it because juveniles are involved.

In the video, you can see and hear Seltzer's daughter being struck from behind.

"Just thinking about it makes me want to cry," Seltzer said through tears. "Words are one thing, but once you put your hands on someone else, that's a whole other thing. That's crossing the line."

Within Aurora Public Schools, from Aug. 1, 2021 through Jan. 4, 2022, 901 incidents have been recorded as third degree assault or disorderly conduct, according to a public records request filed by Denver7.

"What are they doing about it?" Seltzer asked. "What are the schools doing to protect our children?"

Denver7 requested an interview with Superintendent Rico Munn. A spokesperson returned this statement:

Districts across the country are seeing increases in behavioral incidents. As students continue to adjust to the many disruptions that they have overcome in the past several years, we remain focused on providing consistency and wraparound supports that include mental health counseling and social emotional learning. We continue to work with students and families to ensure that our students are engaged, learning and growing safely in our classrooms every day.

According to Dr. Jena Doom, a psychology professor at the University of Denver, school campuses across the country have been tasked with handling more peer-to-peer violence.

"While we don't have great data nationwide, anecdotally, school administrators are reporting more of this," she said.

Doom says pandemic-related stressors are thought to be a contributing factor.

"Students do seem to be very traumatized by the past year, and it's been hard to support them," she said.

Seltzer says she feels the district can do more to address on-campus fights.

"I'm up to seven different parents that have gone through the same thing that my daughter has gone through, and actually some of them were way worse than my daughter's case," she said. "I want parents to really think about it and talk to their kids ... is this going on in your school and help raise awareness, because I know I'm not the only parent."

Denver7 was contacted by other parents who detailed similar circumstances involving their children. Those parents declined to speak on camera.

In an email sent to Mrachek Middle School parents back in December, the school said social media had become the problem.

"As you may be aware, schools are having issues with student use of social media," the email read. "At Mrachek, this has recently included using social media to 'call out' classmates as well as posting videos of students engaging in fights both on and off campus. Students have been posting these particular items on Instagram pages."

The school went on to say they were working to take the pages down.