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D20 e-mail alert prompts questions, criticism from parents - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

D20 e-mail alert prompts questions, criticism from parents

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COLORADO SPRINGS -

It's a scenario any parent would dread.

"I just dropped my daughter off and it's potentially dangerous for her to go to school today," said Stefani Rackley, whose daughter attends Liberty High School.

There was heightened security Wednesday at District 20's Liberty High School, after school officials say a tip came into the safe-to-tell program that there was a possible threat towards the campus. 

The threats--according to several D20 parents--were made via snapchat.

Liberty High School parents received an e-mail around 9:30 Wednesday morning, alerting them District 20 had been made aware of possible threats made to the school overnight.

About an hour after their initial e-mail alert, they notified parents the threats were not credible.

The e-mail prompted some parents to question why they weren't alerted sooner.

"There's no way we should have gotten an e-mail at 9:30 in the morning--the kids were already in school two hours," said Paris George, whose kids are both seniors at Liberty High School.

George says her kids showed her the snapchat before school, so she decided to keep them home for the day--just to be safe.

"They were scared to go and I was scared for them.  My daughter kept saying she didn't want to go, and I wasn't going to argue with her."

Stefani Rackley didn't find out until after she got to work, though.

"A text would have been helpful," Rackley told News5.

"I would have made different decisions in the morning before dropping my daughter off at school," she added.

D20 says they followed protocol with these threats--contacting the Colorado Springs Police Department first and then investigating overnight.

From there, they follow what's called a K-12 Standard Response Protocol, to determine how much they need to heighten security at the school.

At one point during the day, the school went into what's called a "Shelter in Place"--which essentially means heightened security at the school, but business as usual as far as classes go throughout the day.

News5 reached out to other large districts across Southern Colorado--including D11, D49, and D60.

All of them tell us they follow virtually the same protocol in situations like this one.

There's no set criteria as far as if and when they contact parents.  It's a decision typically made in tandem by a school district and local law enforcement-- and assessed on a case by case basis.

"I think the parents should be on the top of the list, because those are our children and we are trusting the schools to protect them," said George.

D20 tells News5 safety is always their top priority--and says if they thought in any way students would be in danger coming to school, they would have heard from them earlier in the day.

But George says she'd like to see school districts err on the side of caution with future threats, even if they end up being a false alarm or a hoax.

"Even before the police department, the parents should be notified."

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