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Fears of teen violence cancel All-Star games

Cherry Creek School District said the games will not be held at Overland High School in Aurora over "an abundance of caution."

AURORA, Colorado — The annual A-Town All-Star Boys and Girls Basketball Games planned for Monday has been cancelled with Cherry Creek School District citing concerns over youth violence. 

The event, sponsored by the Sentinel, had been scheduled to take place at Aurora's Overland High School. The girls and boys teams are made up of students from Cherry Creek and Aurora. The teams have a roster of the best players in the area with enough talent to create two teams for the boys' and the girls' games. 

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Cherry Creek district said the decision was made "out of an abundance of caution" due to the recent gang-related violence along the Front Range and a threat targeting the event or venue where the games would be held. 

"The safety of our students and staff, as well as the entire community, is always our highest priority," the district said.

Aurora Police confirmed they had plans to ramp up patrols at the event but ultimately left the decision up to Cherry Creek schools. 

Dave Perry, publisher with the Sentinel, said the cancellation was "deeply disappointed for the kids and the families that turn out every year." As sponsors, the newspaper hopes to be able to reschedule the event. 

Councilmember at-large Dustin Zvonek said more should have been done to keep the event up and running. 

"I don't believe we should ever be in a position where we're going to take that away because to me," said Councilmember Zvonek. "It sends the wrong signal. It sends the signal that we are going to allow this criminal activity to overrun the lives of our community and of our students." 

Zvonek will introduce his "Aurora Action Plan" at a city council study session on Monday night. He hoped there can be open discussions about what needs to be done to address the violence in the city. 

Susan Payne, school safety and prevention expert at the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado Boulder, said she believes the district made the right decision based on the resources available, such as security and staffing. 

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