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Principal, athletic director on leave after safety violations spark district investigation

Jeffco Public Schools officials have not disclosed details of what sparked the investigation.
Credit: KUSA

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colorado — Chatfield High School’s principal and athletic director have been placed on paid leave while administrators conduct an investigation into “allegations of failing to follow district safety protocols,” 9Wants to Know has learned.

Athletic director Craig Aukland was put on administrative leave Aug. 18, according to Cameron Bell, spokeswoman for Jeffco Public Schools.

Principal Chad Broer was put on leave Tuesday, Bell said.

Bell told 9NEWS that she could not disclose anything about the investigation, which is being conducted by the district’s legal services department.

Parents and students were notified of the investigation in a letter that was distributed Tuesday.

“Please do not interpret an investigation as an indication of wrongdoing by our administrators,” the letter said, in part. “Investigating allegations are part of our normal procedures in these types of situations.”

Both administrators have been in the district for more than a decade.

Broer started in August 2003 and has been Chatfield’s principal since July 2015. Aukland started with the district in Aug. 2006 and has been an assistant principal at Chatfield since July 2016.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) confirmed Friday that Aukland was issued a summons for failure to report. A spokesperson explained that as athletic director, he is a mandatory reporter under state law.

Bell said the phrase used in the letter sent to parents and students – “district safety protocols” – could cover a host of issues, including the manner in which administrators respond to student issues, the requirement that educators report suspected abuse to authorities, and the necessity of addressing issues at the school that could pose a hazard, such as broken equipment.

“The District is committed to ensuring allegations are investigated in an adequate, reliable, and impartial manner, and are resolved in accordance with District policy and procedure,” the letter said.

The district brought back a retired former Chatfield principal, Jim Ellis, to fill the position on an interim basis. Work is underway to name an interim athletic director.

Contact 9Wants to Know investigator Kevin Vaughan with tips about this or any story: kevin.vaughan@9news.com or 303-871-1862.

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