Aspen High School staff, student and police to meet Friday
Aspen High School staff will meet with students and law-enforcement officials Friday in the wake of last week’s controversial arrest made near the campus.
Principal Kimberly Martin emailed parents Wednesday informing them of the morning and noontime gatherings, which will be broken up among the four grade levels and held separately between boys and girls.
“In meeting with parents, district administration and law enforcement on Tuesday, we determined that we could not let an entire week go by without addressing the situation that is on the minds of so many students,” Martin wrote. “We do not have a convenient time to meet with all 560 students in a ‘discussion’ format, and having an entire group assembly would be counterproductive. Further, many parents have requested that we have this assembly.”
Parents and media members aren’t permitted to attended the event.
Martin told The Aspen Times it’s important that students speak candidly, which drove the decision to restrict attendance. Both of the school’s resource officers, Aspen Police Chief Richard Pryor, Assistant Police Chief Linda Consuegra, Police Department Community Relations Specialist Blair Weyer and officer Ritchie Zah will attend.
“We wanted to create an environment where the kids can express their worries, anger, fear, support, whatever it might be,” Martin said.
Martin and Pryor said members of student government played a role in holding the meetings.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to do some myth-busting but also have some questions and answers and hear how the kids feel,” Pryor said. “Any opportunity to communicate is what we need right now.”
Martin said that some students have been troubled by the arrest, while others have spent little time dwelling on it.
“There’s a range of emotion from the students,” she said. “Some are incredibly angry and some have already forgotten about it and moved on.”
Martin said she has been observing reactions on news sites and other mediums. The “spoiled Aspen brat” reason is part of the argument for many who claim the student got what he deserved when police arrested him. Opinions about the arrest have been based, in part, on videos of the incident that have circulated on the Internet.
Martin said Aspen High students are being unfairly stereotyped.
“The students in our school are not fairly represented in what’s happening with the media,” she said. “They grow up in Aspen and are a bit sheltered and don’t have a lot of experience outside ‘the bubble,’ but I reject the notion these are just spoiled kids who are being noncompliant.
“In this case, this kid was being noncompliant, but most kids are doing the right things all the time.”
Police say the student was rolling a joint and that’s what prompted the arrest, in which the student became combative and resisted. School administrators have said that student marijuana use is becoming an increasing problem in the advent of the substance’s legalization in Colorado.
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