‘It’s too raw for the kids still’
Students and staff at the Aspen public schools campus were still struggling on Friday with the news that one of the district’s teachers had been arrested on child pornography charges.Superintendent Diana Sirko asked reporters not come on campus to do a story about how the school community is reacting to the news.”It’s too raw for the kids still,” Sirko said Friday morning. “I just don’t feel comfortable with it. It’s like an invasion of privacy.”Drama teacher Brad Moore turned himself in to police on Wednesday over charges of felony possession of child pornography. He had been on leave since September, when the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office seized his personal computer and launched an investigation that led to the charges.Moore has worked at the schools for the past 11 years and has been a well-known member of the local theater community for decades. School officials said there have been no reports of inappropriate contact between Moore and any students.Asked to describe reactions to the situation at the campus, located on Maroon Creek Road just outside of Aspen, Sirko said on Friday, “I think it ranges from sadness to outrage to questions, kind of, ‘What does this mean?'”Schools were closed on Thursday due to a planned teacher service day, Sirko said on Friday. She added the district had held a schoolwide assembly on Wednesday, the day Moore surrendered voluntarily to police, to inform students of the situation. The district also sent an e-mail message to parents on Wednesday.Meetings have been held with teachers and staff at Aspen High School, as well as at the Aspen Middle School, where Moore was active with students and classes.”They talked to any students who directly had him [as a teacher] this year or last,” Sirko said.”There are several students who are upset and talking with the counselors,” she continued, referring to an announcement that counselors would be on hand at the schools to talk with teachers and staff distraught over Moore’s arrest and the charges against him.Sirko also has instructed staff members to not make comments to the news media about the matter, which she described as “standard procedure about any of these types of issues.”In barring a reporter from talking with students or teachers, she said, “I don’t think they even know what they think right now.”One outstanding residual issue, she said, is the question of who will be taking over Moore’s duties while the case against him moves ahead.”We’re actually still working on that piece,” she said. Although Moore was both a teacher and manager of the District Theater, Sirko said the district plans to find someone to take over Moore’s teaching duties and someone else to become the theater manager.John Colson’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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