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Loveland parents meet with district, law enforcement after safety scare

Loveland High parents asked questions of school leaders at a community meeting after an incident at the school last month left families scared and confused.

LOVELAND, Colo. — Parents in Loveland got a chance to ask questions of school leaders, directly, Thursday night after an incident at Loveland High School last month left families scared and confused.

The incident started with a Safe2Tell tip about a shooting threat, which law enforcement quickly deemed non-credible. But the school’s handling of that alleged threat, and the communication that followed, resulted with some teachers walking out of class and, ultimately, school being canceled for the day. Parents called it “chaos.”

The district placed the Loveland High principal, Michael James, on administrative leave while investigating what happened. James was reinstated and returned to school Monday.

On Wednesday night, James joined other district leaders and law enforcement on the stage at a community meeting with parents to answer questions. He started the meeting with an apology to parents.

“I wanted to open up this evening and speak to the community, and truly apologize to all of you for the chaos, the confusion, and the frustration that my actions may have caused from this incident,” he said. “I’ve returned to school, as of Monday, ready to listen, strengthen our protocol, address our safety concerns and move forward with positivity – fully dedicated to finishing out the school year.”

District leaders and police fielded a long list of questions, including:

  • How do they determine which threats are credible?
  • What were teachers told that day about the unfounded threat, and when?
  • Why did the district react differently to this unfounded threat compared to others?
  • How will the district better communicate moving forward?

“I found my freshman in the parking lot hiding behind cars because his teacher had left him, and another teacher had run by and told the whole class to run. So that’s what his class did,” said one parent named Angela, who has two kids at the school.

“My senior couldn’t get out of his class to help his brother because nobody would let him out,” she continued. “So my question is – how can I be sure my kid’s not going to be left to fend for himself in that kind of situation again? Because we all know it's going to happen again.”

“Who actually decides these [safety] plans? Is it you, are there other professionals involved, are there meetings with parents? I’m kind of in the dark about how the whole process works,” asked a woman named Jennifer, who said she was a grandparent in the district.

“Why was this threat different than others, why was it handled differently, why was the reaction from multiple people different than what we would otherwise normally expect?” asked Dawn Bash, a parent with a Loveland High freshman and a previous graduate.

After the meeting, Bash said she felt most of her questions were answered.

“I feel much better about most things, I do. I will be looking forward to seeing what kind of training takes place with the staff as far as what are they are going to do the next time any threat – credible or not – it’s going to happen, she said. “Even more important, when that threat becomes credible, it’s more important that people are not trying to figure out, what do I do in a moment of fear?”

Broadly, many parents shared their support for James – applauded when he answered questions and shared, they were relieved he will remain on the job.

“He’s walking a very beautiful line of supporting parents and his staff,” Bash said. “Which has got to be a difficult role for him to be in right now. But I applaud him for encircling everyone because that’s how we're going to get everybody back together. And I fully trust him to do that.”


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