The anonymous parent told the school board that she was worried “for something like a Columbine,” because of the “pressure-cooker” environment.
The parent said she called the school board in December to voice her concerns about the school's safety.
A concerned STEM school mother says she told the county school board months ago about violence at the Colorado school and was worried about a potential school shooting.
The mother, who decided to remain anonymous, talked to a school board member in Dec. 2018, saying she was worried of a “Columbine-like” shooting, reports CNN.
She noticed that her child and other students at STEM School Highlands Ranch were not getting enough sleep due to a crushing academic workload. She and other parents noticed kids were stressed and heard reports of violence, sexual assault and bullying.
Despite the reports, she felt school officials were ignoring the issues.
“When you don’t listen to parents’ concerns, when you don’t support teachers’ concerns, when you don’t give teachers the kind of training that they need or the support they need…those are the elements that we need for the perfect storm, for something like a Columbine, or some kind of imminent threat to our children’s safety in the school, whether it be a bomb or an active shooter, or a suicide,” she said in the interview.
She believes school officials could have done more to protect students.
“Did kids feel aggressive toward one another and act out that aggression that I saw? Yes. That my children experienced? Yes. That their friends experienced and told me about? That I heard about from other parents? Absolutely,” the parent said. “I also feel that there was a clash of people’s ideas and cultures.”
An online petition and Facebook post expressed concerns from many other STEM parents about the school’s leadership as well.
Following the mother’s call in December, a district official urged the school’s executive director to investigate the complains and determine if action needed to be taken.
“The concerns expressed by this individual are very serious and need to be looked into to the extent possible,” Douglas County School District official Daniel Winsor wrote in a December letter to STEM’s executive director, Penelope Eucker. “Please keep (the district) apprised of your investigation and conclusions.”
Eucker confirmed that STEM officials reached out to parents following the woman’s complaints “in the hopes that any student or family member with knowledge of the allegations would confidentially share that information.”
The school did not receive any responses, she said.
Following the investigation, Eucker sent another letter to parents disputing all of the woman’s allegations. They also filed a defamation lawsuit against her, despite not knowing her identity.
About the Author Katie Malafronte, Web Editor
Katie Malafronte is Campus Safety's Web Editor. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Writing & Rhetoric. Katie has been CS's Web Editor since 2018.