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Video released after Security-Widefield students suspended over toy gun

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.

Colorado Springs / Local News / Video

KRDO News

Comments

22 Comments

  1. This is going to happen more and more.
    Having the school district say all rules from school apply to at home/online learning is a sham. It can’t be done.
    Now everyone house will be scrutinized via the zoom calls and what next? Suspension if they say they saw something? It looks like drugs on the counter! Nope mom just got done rolling out some Cookies! Its flour! OMG
    How many people have kids and they have some sort of a toy gun. It’s in all our houses. smh…..

    1. couldn’t agree with you more. I always have tape over my little cameras on all my devices. Right now parents are being forced to miss work or leave children home who might be ready for that responsibility.
      What won’t two boys do?
      What one can’t think of?
      They could have just called the parents and let them know. Instead, they practically made a federal case out of it.

    2. If these so-called teachers were so concerned, they would’ve immediately called the parents before calling the cops. The parents could’ve easily handled this. There was no need to have cops show up at this home unnecessarily as if this family were criminals.

  2. This is what happens when we have so many morons from california here…..I dont know too many real guns with a green top on them and an orange cap and the end of the barrel…..this was a complete waste of time and resources all so the principal could feel “empowered”…..should be fired instead.

    1. Hey Tory,
      Seen the resolution on a poorly lit kid’s camera? The law is clear and it will side with the school. “Behavior on or off school property detrimental to the possible welfare or safety of other students or school personnel.” Weapons: Any weapon OR FACSIMILEYou know nothing.

  3. Neither the bright green color of the “gun” nor the orange cap were visible in the original recording of the virtual class, so it could have been a real gun. The zero tolerance policy is designed to protect other students from the few who seem unable to adhere to the policies. Whether it should be enforced exactly the same at home during virtual schooling as at live school is questionable, but until the policies are changed for virtual schooling, teachers, students, and parents need to follow those policies. Good intent, but over-reaction on the part of a number of people, including the parent who removed her son from the school district. He was suspended, not expelled, so he would have been back in class very quickly.

    1. And had it been a real gun, and someone had been hurt, you know who would have sued the school district for NOT taking action . . .

  4. Headline test: Teacher and school err on the side of safety in addressing possible gun in child’s hands. Or: School ignores possible gun in hands of a child, child inadvertently kills little sister when gun goes off. Good job Widefield School district. Parents, your kid should’ve be out of bed, sitting at a table, and ready for school.

  5. It’s interesting that the part of the video with the teachers laughing about what happened is omitted. There’s nothing funny. Also, the cops would not have taken 4 hours to get there if they thought something was wrong. The teachers could’ve easily asked the kids about the toy gun. The kids had a toy gun at their own home, not at the school. Therefore, they should not be suspended.

      1. It’s the school’s fault for not having a better plan for virtual school. Obviously, they need to change their rules and/or review their rules with parents and students. I am very disappointed that any teacher laughed about this situation. Some people should not be teachers.

    1. The law pertains here. School was correct. They can sue up a storm and waste their money. Better get one of those, “We don’t get paid unless you get paid” lawyers. Loislane, I believe you blamed the Highlands Ranch shooting on lack of previous action by the school. Wasn’t that you?

      1. An actual shooting is somewhat different from kids horsing around with a toy in their own home. These “teachers” should’ve called the parents first. The teachers could’ve even asked the kids about the toy gun. Suing isn’t called for, but the parents should try to find a better school for their children—one that doesn’t have ignorant “teachers” who laugh at situations like this is.

        1. You try managing a class of students over the Internet and dealing with crap like this. It’s the parents’ responsibility to follow the rules with their kids. There was no time for a teacher calling to see if it was a toy, in case it wasn’t. The teacher and the school did exactly the right things all down the line for the safety of the students, and the parents should be glad that the teachers care so much about their disobedient kids.

  6. One point everyone seems to miss here is that Big Brother is now in your house. Time to turn those cameras off.

  7. Come on people, online schooling for kids is an all new thing and its going to take a while to work things out. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use some common sense. The school claiming they had to get the law involved in case it was a real gun and not a toy doesn’t work. If they were really worried about that it wouldn’t have taken 4 hours to check it out. A simple phone call to the home could have taken care of the problem instead of over reacting and making a big deal out of it. After all, its a couple of 12 year old boys in their own bedroom clowning around. This was something that the cops should never have been involved in and the teacher and the school made a big thing out of nothing wasting a lot of other peoples time.
    It would help if the parents had set up an area for the online class time where all normal school rules apply. And not have the kids online class in their bedroom where they think they should be able to do anything they want to. Like I said, this is a all new thing because of Covid and its going to take a while to work the bugs out of it.

    1. You sound like an excuse for parents unable to follow the rules with their own kids. Had it turned out to be a real gun, you wouldn’t be singing the same tune, and THAT’S common sense…

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