COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Controversy continues to surround a Southern Colorado school district that suspended two 12-year-old boys after they were seen on-camera in a virtual class holding a toy gun.
The teacher of the virtual class told deputies she was unsure if the gun was real or fake at the time of the incident.
The El Paso County Sheriff's office has released body-worn camera footage surrounding its response to the Widefield-Security School District and the involved family's home.
The video released by the sheriff's office also included a recording of the virtual class. In the video, you can see what appears to be a gun of some type held in the air during a distance learning class at Grand Mountain School.
A spokesperson from Widefield Security District told KRDO last week it was unable to comment on the specific discipline of a student, but said parents are made aware that the same rules apply for in-person and virtual classes.
"Safety will always be number one for our students and staff. We utilize our School Resource Officers, who are trusted and trained professionals who work in our schools with our children, to ensure safety," school spokesperson Sam Briggs said.
The El Paso County Sheriff's office declined an interview on the topic, but pointed KRDO to a statement it released Thursday evening.
"We would like to take this opportunity to provide some clarity on the situation where two 12-year-olds were suspended after brandishing a weapon, while at a home, during an online class. The Sheriff’s Office received a report from the school due to a concern for the welfare of the students present during the incident.
We were told by the school the teacher did not know if the weapon was “real or not.” As we should, we investigated the situation to ensure the safety of the students. Our School Resource Officer (deputy) made contact with the parents and children, then held a discussion with all parties; no one was charged with a crime.
We take these situations seriously and we have to respond to circumstances such as these as public safety is our number one priority. The School Resource Officer took the appropriate action and was kind and respectful throughout the interaction. His goal was to educate the involved parties.
For more information about the rules and administrative sanctions put in place by the school district or any questions regarding the school’s actions should be directed to Widefield School District 3."
No one was charged related to the incident, according to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.
The mother of one of the suspended students, Dani Elliott, is upset with how the ordeal was handled. Elliott says the gun seen in the video was a green airsoft gun.
“Who thinks that in the privacy of your own home you have to remove items such as toys?" she said.
Elliott says part of the body camera footage documenting a conversation between the school and a deputy was removed. A spokesperson for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office says a portion of the video was omitted because teachers were getting death threats. But Elliott says the missing video changes the whole tone of the story.
“They cut out seven minutes of the video including school officials' conversation where it included them laughing," she said. "So I find that to be very disturbing.”
Elliott has removed her son from the school district. She says her family has met with civil rights groups. The National Foundation for Gun Rights has also announced it is willing to represent the family in pursuing legal action against Widefield District 3.