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A Challenging Week: A Message from Superintendent Dr. Glass

A Challenging Week: A Message from Superintendent Dr. Glass
Posted on 04/19/2019
Superintendent & Chief Learner Dr. Jason GlassThis past week has been challenging for our students, families, staff, and the entire metro community with the threat of violence put upon our schools. Ultimately, and in a collaborative and supportive decision, all the schools in the Denver metro area closed this week as we prioritized safety above all other concerns.

I am proud of the way our schools and district staff responded to this challenge. Jeffco has one of the most sophisticated and robust systems of school safety in the nation and we put that into action this week. Former Columbine High School principal Frank DeAngelis described Jeffco’s reaction to this situation as “clockwork.” While there are always things we can learn and improve upon in these experiences, Jeffco’s reaction to this situation was thoughtful, deliberate, and decisive.

With that said, there is much about this situation that still troubles me.

I am bothered that one person with a gun could hold an entire region’s education system hostage with a credible, but also an unspecified, threat.

As many of you know, I am a Jeffco parent myself. My wife Sarah and I have a six-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter who attend Jeffco Public Schools. Like so many parents in our community, we struggled in answering their strikingly direct and innocent questions.

Why does she want to hurt kids?
Does she want to hurt me?
Why did someone give her a gun?
Why did she kill herself?
Did it hurt when she did?
Will we be safe at school tomorrow?

Questions no child should ever have to ask - and no parent have to answer. Nevertheless, this is where we are and we must all grow, adapt, and meet this reality.

On this 20th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, I am acutely aware of how far we have come while at the same time, distressed by how these threats of violence have gotten worse and more disruptive.

Are schools safer than they were in 1999 in terms of systems, procedures, and vigilance? Absolutely – there is no doubt. In addition, it is true that our schools are also subject to more threats and safety concerns than they have ever been. We are in a new and more challenging era – and we will continue to rise to meet that challenge.

There is no other option.

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