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Police remain on Steamboat Springs High School campus in wake of shooting threat

— Uniformed Steamboat Springs Police Department officers were at Steamboat Springs High School Thursday to help assure students and staff they were safe after a teacher found a vague note Wednesday suggesting a shooting might take place.

A teacher found a note that read, “you were always nice to me so when the shooting starts you are safe” at 2:07 p.m. Wednesday, shortly after a passing period.

“When class ended (at 1:50 p.m.), the note was sitting on the table,” Principal Kevin Taulman said.

The teacher looked around the building for the students who had most recently been sitting at the table where the note was found but couldn’t find them, so he alerted administrators.

Police were immediately contacted and arrived at the high school to check the building and help administrators secure the exterior doors.

Steamboat Springs police received a tip about who may have written the note at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday and contacted the student at home to follow up on the lead.

The student then came forward Thursday morning and admitted to writing the note and passing it to a friend in class, Taulman said.

The student, who is not being identified, said they had watched a video on YouTube where a note with the same statement was found in public, and the student wanted to see how their friend would respond to a similar note.

“While the language used in this note is threatening and has been taken very seriously, that was not the original intention of the student,” Taulman said in a Thursday letter to parents.

The identified student is being kept out of school through the end of the week and will be disciplined in some way by the district.

Superintendent Brad Meeks said district administrators will perform a threat assessment, review the student’s previous discipline records and evaluate whether mental health support is necessary when determining the disciplinary actions.

The discipline could be as severe as a suspension or expulsion if appropriate, Meeks said.

Steamboat Springs Police Chief Cory Christensen said criminal charges were not anticipated at this time and police believe it is a matter better left to school officials to handle.

Information about the incident was first sent to parents Wednesday night via email. A second email was sent out Thursday afternoon sharing the contents of the note and additional details.

The district did not use its emergency alert system earlier in the day Wednesday because the note was found late in the afternoon and close to the end of the school day.

Taulman said 64 students of the school’s 780 chose to stay home Thursday specifically because of the note.

Meeks and Taulman said they didn’t have any recollection of any similar incidents taking place in the district in recent years.

The administrators said they wanted the incident to serve as a reminder to everyone to take threatening notes or statements seriously and report them immediately.

“We need to encourage people to bring things forward,” Meeks said. “Let someone know so we can look into it.”

Administrators said law enforcement would continue to be present at the high school at least through Thursday and present at a Thursday night lacrosse game.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland


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