DENVER – Hundreds of classes were interrupted Wednesday morning across Colorado after school districts received threats, forcing school officials to place campuses under lockdowns.
Alamosa School District officials locked down all schools at around 8:24 a.m. after the Alamosa Police Department were dispatched to a report of a person walking into Ortega Middle School with an AR-style rifle.
Officers who arrived at the school deemed the threat to be a fictitious call.
Police said they were investigating the origin of the phone call and said they’ll be working closely with federal and state agencies to find out who reported the threat.
Alamosa lifted the lockdown and said there was no danger to the community.
In Aspen, students district-wide were placed on a lockdown as law enforcement investigated a “potential threat” around the schools.
Parents were instructed not to come to schools there as police investigated the validity of the threat.
The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office also closed roads in the area as law enforcement investigated the threat.
The lockdowns were lifted by 10:20 a.m.
Parents were asked to go to the roundabout and at Bus Barn Lane to "direct parents to the correct location for pickup" after school officials announced classes would be cancelled for the remainder of the day.
Parents were asked to stay in their cars and bring an ID when picking up their children.
Students across the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) were evacuated from their schools after Boulder High School was placed on lockdown Wednesday morning following an unconfirmed report of an active shooter. No victims have so far been located.
Students who were evacuated from the high school were moved to Macky Auditorium on the University of Colorado Campus, located at 1595 Pleasant Street. They expected the reunification process to being at around 11 a.m.
BVSD officials asked that only one parent show up to pick up their kids and to bring some form of ID with them. Parents were also asked to use the east parking lot and doors of Macky Auditorium.
Those unable to pick-up their kids were asked to make special arrangements by calling (720) 561-2200.
School and after-school activities were canceled for the remainder of the day.
Police dispatch received a threatening call from an unknown person connected to Brighton High School at around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
A large police presence was then called in and other schools in the area were placed on secure status, meaning the building’s doors were locked but classes went uninterrupted.
Police later determined the threat was not credible and the secure status was lifted at all surrounding schools.
Cañon City High School students and staff were placed on a lockdown after police received reports of a bomb threat at Cañon City High School. Police asked parents not to approach the building.
A staging area for parents was set up at St. Michael’s Catholic Church as police conducted a safety sweep.
"The validity of the threat is unknown at this time," school officials said.
Shortly before 1 p.m., Cañon City High School officials said the lockdown was lifted and classes had returned to normal, but all schools across the district remained on modified secured status, meaning that any entry or exits to campuses will be monitored by school staff.
"While the incident caused discomfort for staff and students, we are glad to report that everyone is safe and no injuries have been reported," school officials said in a news release.
Clear Creek County
Several schools across the Clear Creek Schools district were placed on lockout after Clear Creek County received a swatting call Wednesday.
Everyone in the school is safe, officials said in a news release.
Durango School District 9-R tweeted students and staff at all their schools were safe after the district received an unspecified threat Wednesday morning.
All district schools were placed on secure lockout but the threat was deemed part of a “nationwide hoax,” officials tweeted at around 10:30 a.m.
The secure lockout was lifted just after 10 a.m.
Englewood Middle School, Englewood High School, and Englewood Leadership Academy were put on lockdown at around 9:19 a.m. Wednesday following a report of shots fired at Englewood High School.
No threats or injuries were found and the lockdown was lifted at around 10:50 a.m., police tweeted.
The Englewood Police Department said through a communication from the school district, that it was investigating the report as a "swatting" call. “Swatting” refers to a hoax call that falsely reports an emergency. Swatting incidents targeting schools have become increasingly common recently.
Englewood Schools Superintendent Dr. Wendy Rubin in a letter to parents, teachers and staff that it was "deeply unsettling that anyone out there would seek to cause this kind of disruption and emotional harm to school children, the adults who work with them and their families.”
“We will be working to debrief this situation with our staff members and students to ensure that they have any mental health support they need," she said.
Parents who wanted to take their kids home from school early were able to do so, Rubin said.
Though Estes Park High School was closed Wednesday due to weather, city officials said the city’s police department received a report from an anonymous source that there would be an active shooter at Estes Park High School at around 9:23 a.m.
Officers responded immediately to the schools to clear the surrounding area and search the schools, but no evidence to substantiate the report was found.
During its investigation at the Estes Park Schools, an Estes Park police officer accidentally discharged one round into the floor at the elementary school, according to a department release. There were no students or staff in the building at the time. No one was injured.
The Estes Valley Community Center was also briefly lockeded down.
The report is still under investigation.
The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office received a report at around 9:38 a.m. that there was a man with a gun at the Fort Morgan High School.
“Shortly after that, there were what sounded like gunshots in the background,” Fort Morgan Police Department said in a news release.
School officials and the school resource officer “immediately became involved in the concern, and the building was searched by both the school administration and law enforcement,” police said.
Police said there was no immediate or viable threat to the staff or students at Fort Morgan High School, adding that all schools within the district were checked and no threat was found.
“We are aware of similar incidents across the state of Colorado and police are investigating the origin of this call,” officials wrote, saying police presence would be increased throughout the district Wednesday.
The Gilpin County School went on lockdown Wednesday as the sheriff's office and other law enforcement agencies were working "an active suspicious incident at the Gilpin County School."
"There is no active threat and no active gunman," the sheriff's office said via Facebook, adding everyone inside the school was safe.
Parents were asked not to go to the school or attempt to call the student or staff member.
"For persons that have someone currently involved in the lockdown at the Gilpin School, please go to the Gilpin County Recreation Center for more information. There is personnel at the Rec Center that can provide updates," the sheriff's office.
The Gilpin County School was not evacuating students at this time. Parents with persons involved in the lockdown should go to the Gilpin Recreation Center for information only. Access to the school is closed.
Parkview Elementary School in Lamar District RE-2 was placed on a lockdown after it was reported a student brought a handgun to the campus.
School officials searched the student’s belongings and found a fake handgun on their person. The Lamar Police Department was notified.
The lockdown lasted for approximately 15 mins., school officials said.
“Lamar School District RE-2 takes all threats seriously and works closely with local law enforcement to keep students, staff, and schools safe.
Littleton High School was placed on lockdown shortly and Littleton Preparatory Charter School, Field Elementary School and East Elementary were placed on secure status before 2 p.m. Wednesday after officers received a report of an armed party at the school, an official with the police department said via Twitter.
"This was related to a threat called in directly to police dispatch similar to other “swatting” incidents that have occurred across Colorado and the nation in recent days," Littleton Schools officials said in a letter to parents, teachers and staff. "While we have no reason to believe that students were ever in harm’s way, we continue to take all threats seriously and follow our emergency protocols."
School officials said Littleton police conducted thorough searches at the high school, and school officials shop to lift the lockdown "around or shortly after dismissal time."
The secure status has been lifted at Littleton Preparatory Charter School, Field Elementary School and East Elementary schools.
LPD is clearing the school. No reported injuries at this time. We are asking parents and all to please stay away from the area. We will have more updates as soon as possible.— Littleton Colorado Police Department (@LittletonPD) February 22, 2023
There were no reported injuries. Parents were being asked to stay away from the area.
A dispatcher at the Littleton PD who took the initial call said they could hear gunfire in the background, but a call to a school resource officer confirmed no shooting was happening at the school.
Roaring Fork Schools
Schools in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale were placed on secure status and Glenwood Springs High School was put on a lockdown Wednesday morning due to an unspecified threat to the district, officials in a communication to parents, teachers and staff.
School district officials urged parents to stay away from the schools while police investigated.
All safety protocols in Glenwood Springs schools were lifted by law enforcement at around 10:30 a.m.
The Wiggins School District investigated a report that there was an active shooter in one of their schools, but the threat was determined to not be credible.
School district officials said on Facebook the Wiggins Police Department, along with the Colorado State Patrol "will continue to monitor the Wiggins School District campus to ensure the safety of our students."
"In the meantime will be keeping students PreK-12 inside of the buildings for the remainder of the day," officials said.
Federal, state agencies investigating threats
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Colorado Office of Emergency Management said they were monitoring the lockdowns along with other state agencies Wednesday.
“There have been no requests for state assistance at this time,” officials said, adding no credible threats had been identified as of 11 a.m.
FBI Denver is aware of numerous threats made today to a variety of organizations and institutions across Colorado. The FBI works closely with its law enforcement partners by providing resources and guidance in these investigations and can recommend cases for federal prosecution. While we have no information at this time to indicate a specific and credible threat, we continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to gather, share, and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention.
It is important to note that law enforcement will use all available resources to investigate a threat until we determine whether it is real or not. Investigating hoax threats drains law enforcement resources and diverts officers from responding to an actual crisis. More information about the consequences of posting hoax threats can be found on fbi.gov at https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/hoax-threats-awareness-100518 [fbi.gov]. We urge the public to remain vigilant, and report any and all suspicious activity and/or individuals to law enforcement immediately.