A threat scrawled on a high school bathroom stall has forced the closure of Woodland Park School District RE-2 for Wednesday, Feb. 28. Sophomore Ellysse Owens, one of the first to see the threat after it appeared around lunchtime on Friday, Feb. 23, says, "This person who wrote it was saying, 'I'm going to shoot up the whole school and I'm going to shoot you.'"
Owens says she immediately went to an officer inside the school to report the threat. Classes were not canceled Friday afternoon, but security was enhanced beginning Monday while Woodland Park police and school district administrators worked to identify the person responsible for the threat. "Since we have been investigating and haven't received any leads, we have decided to close our school district (Wednesday)," said district spokesperson Stacy Schubloom.
Owens says she applauds the decision. "A lot of kids originally were just not going to show up to school even if it wasn't canceled," she said. "It definitely freaked a lot of people out."
Blayde Bensen, a Woodland Park High School junior, says the threat and school cancellation is disruptive. "Why would you go out and try to harm someone else or endanger someone else's life and get school canceled? Other people want to learn," Bensen said. "If you want to go out and do that, go get some help, go do something."
Schubloom says if the intent of the threat was to cause a school cancellation, its success is only temporary. "The hours that we are missing because of this disruption, we will find a way to make it up either during Spring Break or at the end of the school year or during the days to add hours," Schubloom said. "It's not a free day."
Owens and Bensen agree that the threat has put the school on edge. "Sometimes people do that just to give a scare, try to get school out or whatever, but it could happen and that would be tragic," Bensen said. "A lot of people are saying it might not happen and we live in such a small town, but there's always got to be a what-if factor that I'm always freaked about," Owens said.
Anyone who has additional information about the Woodland Park High School threat is asked to call the police department at 719-687-9262 or Safe-2-Tell at 1-877-542-7233. Woodland Park police are offering a $500 reward for information leading to the identification of the person responsible.