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Aspen campus reopens this afternoon

Madeleine Osberger
Snowmass Village correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” The Aspen School District campus will reopen at 3 p.m. Friday “with increased law enforcement presence,” according to Superintendent Diana Sirko, to allow programs such as lacrosse, basketball and the Dance Progressions troupe time for their scheduled practices.

All three schools on the district campus were shut down for the day after workers on the Aspen Middle School construction site discovered a racially motivated threat scrawled onto the wall of a Port-A-Potty late Thursday. It had some similarities to a threat found May 4 on an outhouse in Snowmass Village.

Snowmass Village police continue to work with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Department to determine if the two incidents are related; the Snowmass epitaph lashed out at Latinos, reportedly it threatened to “kill any Mexican who gets in my way,” while the school district message was said to be targeted at Anglos and involved “shooting,” stating that the act would occur at 8:46 a.m. on May 11, according to Jeff Lumsden, patrol director for the sheriff’s office.



Snowmass Village Police Chief Art Smythe said there were some commonalties in the two messages that couldn’t be ignored.

“The fact that both were on Port-A-Potties, the fact that both were racially directed, the fact that both were very specific about the time and date, those are similarities. I would think there’s a potential that they’re related,” he said.



But the response was also a product of recent times, he added. On Thursday, Boulder (Colorado) schools were canceled because of a violent threat. And last month, shootings at Virginia Tech left 33 dead, including the gunman.

“In the environment we live in, especially with the most recent incident, nobody wants to be the one that underreacted,” Smythe said. “But obviously, we can overreact, too.”

No arrests have been made in the May 4 incident at Base Village but police are continuing their investigation, which includes handwriting and fingerprinting analyses.

Sirko said she will consult with principals and teachers to decide whether or not a make-up day will be needed before the end of school, which is scheduled for June 1. “We have to evaluate our school time and figure out where we’re at,” she said.


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