Regional news: Threat from Steamboat Springs student prompts police response
May 10, 2017
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A new tool in local schools that allows people to anonymously submit tips may have prevented a tragedy this week.
On Sunday, Steamboat Springs Middle School administrators received a Safe2Tell tip that one of their students had "threatened harm and actions that may or may not have included harm to others," according to a letter sent to parents Monday afternoon.
Deputies at the Routt County Sheriff's Office also received the tip.
"The juvenile's threat was fairly vague," Undersheriff Ray Birch said. "It wasn't real specific about what they were going to do or harm others. The threats were made focusing on a date, and it was Monday or Tuesday."
Principal Jerry Buelter said the tip was based off of a Snapchat message, and it is difficult to determine a person's mood over social media.
"We don't have a choice," Buelter said. "Everything is serious to us."
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Within minutes of receiving the tip, deputies responded and started conducting interviews.
"It was a very successful response," Birch said.
After a series of interviews, the juvenile was contacted Sunday night and placed in protective custody. Health care providers from Mind Springs Health then evaluated the juvenile.
Safe2Tell is a program that was tailored for the state of Colorado and is designed to keep schools safe. It operates under the Colorado Attorney General's Office, and schools are required by the Colorado Department of Education to include Safe2Tell Colorado as part of school safety planning.
Buelter said the Steamboat Springs School District rolled out Safe2Tell at the beginning of the school year, and students attended a presentation.
"The kids really did respond," Buelter said.
Buelter said this was the most serious tip the school has received. Other tips have involved students who were depressed or had suicidal thoughts.
"Every single one of them were relieved that we took note," Buelter said. "It seems like the kids are relieved when we meet with them."
People with concerns can call Safe2Tell at 877-542-7233. Tips can also be submitted using a smartphone app and online at safe2tell.org.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @sbtstensland.