A Montezuma-Cortez High School student brought a gun to school Tuesday, according to a letter sent by school district officials later that night.
District staff members and Cortez police officials determined the student was intending to sell the gun and there appears to have been no known current threats.
However, the incident prompted a larger conversation about school safety – the Community School Safety Committee plans to meet Friday to reflect on the incident, how it happened and what preventive measures can be taken in the future, said Lori Haukeness, superintendent of the Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1.
“Really looking at it not only from an educational lens but from a community lens of what did we do well and what can we do,” she said.
The school was notified about the gun between 4:15 and 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Haukeness said. Two students received a Snapchat message about the weapon, located in a backpack in a school locker, and reported it to Assistant Principal Donald Deavila.
After the students showed Deavila where it was, he alerted Principal Eric Chandler, School Resource Officer Jerry Sam and Haukeness, and they all convened around 4:45 p.m.
They determined the student was planning on selling the gun, although police are still investigating who sent the Snapchat message. Haukeness said she believes the student was planning on selling the weapon at school.
The student in question now faces an expulsion hearing and is not currently allowed on campus. Haukeness declined to divulge the student’s name, citing their minor status.
This incident comes after the district underwent a series of safety upgrades throughout its schools, including the installation of a RAPTOR system, which screens adults and non-enrolled students who come through the school’s front doors.
Schools have one access point, too, which she said is a “high safety leverage.”
“But then in reality when you have a student bring a weapon in, what do we do as a school and as a district?” she said.
She added the district seeks to maintain a “warm and welcoming environment” focused on education at schools.
Any students with concerns about bullying, weapons, suicide or other threats can anonymously report to the 24-hour hotline Safe2Tell Colorado by calling (877) 542-7233 or visiting safe2tellco.org.