Safe Havens International Report
SCHOOL SAFETY AND YOUTH IN CRISIS
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03:30 PM -- Safe Havens International Report
Majority Leader Scheffel called the committee back to order. Michael Dorn and Phuong Nguyen of Safe Havens International presented their report. Mr. Dorn spoke about the personnel who helped produce the report and about Claire Davis. He described his team's conclusions that there were opportunities to take actions that may have prevented the death of Claire Davis. He spoke about the limitations of their study, including limited documents to review; inconsistencies in witness statements, both in the criminal investigation and the deposition process; and time constraints. He spoke about the larger context of school violence and other types of incidents that cause deaths on school property.
Mr. Dorn spoke about key findings and lessons learned. He said that LPS and its public safety partners had preventive security measures in place at the time of the incident, and that there may have been too much information given to staff. He said the district did have a structured threat assessment process, but that the shooting still occurred. He spoke about problems with the school's camera system, which caused difficulty for investigators from the ACSO. He said that LPS' threat assessment process has significant opportunities for improvement and that because there was no systematic approach to guide the process, the focus was more on establishing evidence that the student had made a threat rather than on whether or not he posed a threat. Mr. Dorn stated that LPS' threat assessment process was not thorough, and lacked attention to detail. Mr. Dorn spoke about LPS' approach to student discipline, which lacked no formal consequences for Karl Pierson after he threatened to kill school librarian Tracy Murphy. Mr. Dorn spoke about a number of violent incidents after aggressors were not arrested, suspended, and/or expelled for aggressive behaviors prior to the attacks. Mr. Dorn spoke about opportunities for improvement in law enforcement partners' investigations of the threat by Karl Pierson, and described how the mother of Karl Pierson reported that her son had threatened life of girl at West Middle School. Mr. Dorn stated that no information about the actions of the SRO at West was available. He said that there were two possible opportunities to interrupt the pathway to violence that were not taken. Mr. Dorn spoke about opportunities for improvement in site-based management approach to security personnel at AHS. Mr. Dorn spoke about how nobody at the school called Safe2Tell to report any of Karl Pierson's concerning behaviors. He described the benefits of interlocking approaches, with an array of protective programs in place at each school. He said the focus should not be only on threat assessment, but that it should be one of a number of key school safety strategies.
Mr. Dorn spoke about Colorado's limited data on school fatalities, and about the difficulty he had in obtaining access to what data there is. He said there were a total of 16 fatalities due to violence occurring in Colorado schools and colleges from 2004 to 2015 and that of those, 12 were suicide, 3 were homicide, and the other was from an undetermined cause.
Mr. Dorn concluded that there were multiple opportunities to prevent this attack, and spoke about the actions of custodian Fabian Vldrio Llerenas, librarian Tracy Murphy and other staff and students to prevent additional casualties.
Mr. Dorn responded to questions from the committee.
Mr. Dorn offered a final comment, and thanked the Davis family for the thoroughness of the arbitration reports.