Aspen schools on lockout after online threat
February 9, 2017
Aspen schools are under heightened security and others throughout the Roaring Fork Valley are either closed or on lockout today due to threats that were made online, authorities said.
Local law enforcement contacted the Aspen School District at approximately 7:45 this morning about a “threat to schools in the ‘81611’ zip code,” according to an email sent from the Superintendent’s Office to parents and students. “The District has placed all of its building in a lockout – exterior doors are locked and business within the buildings is conducted as usual. The District schools will remain in lockout until further notice from local law enforcement.”
Pitkin County Undersheriff Ron Ryan said, “Everyone is safe inside that school. It’s easy for us because we’re one campus. ”
Aspen’s elementary, middle and high schools share the same campus off Maroon Creek Road. All are on lockout, meaning that all doors are locked, staff is on high alert and additional law enforcement are at the schools.
The Superintendent’s Office, in an email, urged parents to not pick up their children from school.
“Please do not attempt to come to the schools to pick up students as during a Lockout no one is released until the Lockout is lifted,” the email said. “All buildings are screening anyone wishing to enter, but once they have entered a building they are not allowed to leave until the Lockout is lifted.”
Authorities have traced the threat to an IP address in the Carbondale area.
“Earlier this morning, the Roaring Fork Schools received notice from the Carbondale Police Department that an 18-year-old senior made threats of violence against his or her school in an online forum,” says a statement issued by Carbondale Chief of Police Gene Schilling. “While the threat was anonymous, the IP address was traced to the Carbondale area. We have no other information about the student or his intentions at this time, but local law enforcement is actively investigating this threat.
The Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported that Roaring Fork School District high schools are closed today, while the elementary and middle schools are on lockout “after Carbondale police fielded an anonymous threat of violence against an unspecified school.”
The Roaring Fork School District includes schools in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, accounting for approximately 5,200 students, according to the District’s website.
"We received word from the police of an anonymous threat that was made in an online forum," said Kelsy Been, public information officer for the district, told the Post Independent. "All schools were placed on lockout while the police can look into the threat."
She said later in a news release that an 18-year-old senior made threats of violence against his or her school in an online forum, the Post Independent reported.
"While the threat was anonymous, the IP address was traced to the Carbondale area," the release said. "We have no other information about the student or his intentions at this time, but local law enforcement is actively investigating this threat."
The lockout occurred just as students and teachers were arriving for school, causing confusion as parents who were dropping off younger students were turned away. Been did not say if school bus routes were reversed.
"We wanted to be cautious and err on the side of safety for our students and staff," she said.
The school districts asked anyone with information about the threat to call Carbondale Police Chief Gene Schilling at 970-963-2662. The Aspen Police Department can be reached at 970-920-5400; the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office’s number is 970-920-5300.