Review of the Three Arapahoe High School Shooting 2013 Reports Facilitated by the Colorado School Safety Resource Center September 2016

On Tuesday, September 13, 2016, the interim legislative committee, formed with the passage of SB15-214 (School Safety and Youth Mental Health in Crisis Interim Committee), met at the Capitol. The first item on the agenda was an overview of the report prepared by the working group that reviewed the recommendations of the three reports commissioned after the tragic Arapahoe High School shooting.  A copy of the report can be accessed here. 

The working group reviewed 158 recommendations agreeing with 119 of them outright and agreeing with an additional 34 with modifications.  Five of the recommendations were common to all three of the commissioned reports.

The five common recommendations were: 

  1. Schools should utilize climate surveys
  2. There should be written agreements between school districts and their local law enforcement agencies about information sharing.
  3. School staff should be versed in FERPA including the fact that FERPA does not prevent reporting on students about whom staff have safety concerns.
  4. Districts should utilize the 11 questions of the U.S. Secret Service in their threat assessment process.
  5. Schools are encouraged to use Safe2Tell.  

The five recommendations with which the working group disagreed were:

     Security directors should be in charge of SRO's - The working group realizes that law enforcement agencies will always have ultimate responsibility and oversight of SROs.

     Each at-risk student to be paired with an adult - Although the working group acknowledges this is best practice and schools are always encouraged to connect students with adults, there was fear of this becoming a legislative mandate that would be difficult to track for districts.

     CSSRC auditing districts' use of their threat assessment process - The Center is always available to assist and has been conducting consultations and trainings across the state on threat assessment.  However, the Center is not a compliance agency and a change in mission would disrupt the collaborative relationship that is necessary to assist schools. 

     CSSRC certifying school staff and law enforcement in threat assessment every three years.  Again, the Center's role in statute is not as a regulatory agency nor does it have the resources to certify staff in over 1800 schools. 

     Schools use of a continuous improvement model of error review committee - Schools are always encouraged to review their threat assessment procedures, but the recommendation as outlined in one of the reports seemed unrealistic given staff time and resources. 

Additionally, of the 158 recommendations, the working group felt that schools would need resources for at least 139 of those suggestions.  Rural schools would need considerable resources to fulfill the recommendations.  

Please see the report for an explanation under each recommendation of the resources necessary. For some recommendations you will also find "suggested assistance" paragraphs identifying where no- or low- cost resources might be acquired.  

The Center would like to thank the 34 members of the working group (found on page 41 of the report) for their incredible dedication to this effort.  Many came on their summer break and traveled long distances to attend these meetings. This report would not have been possible without their commitment to the safety of Colorado students. Thank you!

For additional comments or questions about the report, please contact Christine Harms, Director, Colorado School Safety Resource Center directly
at  303.239.4534

Letters to School Administrators


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