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Two Douglas County School District students were arrested April 20 - the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting - on suspicion of falsely reporting threats to authorities, according to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
The offense is a class three misdemeanor. One of the students was also charged with interference of staff, faculty or students at an educational institution, which is a class one misdemeanor, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which is a class four felony.
A sheriff's office spokeswoman said the students arrested are 14 and 17 years old and attend schools in "the Highlands Ranch area," but she wouldn't identify the schools.
A sheriff's office news release said the department has been investigating threats at multiple DCSD schools in recent days. Each rumored threat was fully investigated and determined non-credible.
It was during these investigations that the sheriff's office learned students were falsely reporting threats against their schools in an attempt to shut down the schools on April 20, the 18th anniversary of the Columbine shooting in south Jefferson County, according to the sheriff's office.
"At this time, we'd like to remind parents to talk to their students about the seriousness of making false reports and participating in the spread of rumors," the news release states. "If a student believes they have learned of a legitimate threat, please contact us or school staff immediately. No student will be punished for reporting information that they believe to be true."
The school district issued a statement the morning of April 21.
"The Douglas County School District appreciates the strong partnership we have with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, as well as the Castle Rock, Lone Tree and Parker police departments. We are fortunate to have programs like Safe2Tell and Text-a-Tip in place to allow for anonymous reporting of concerns or threats," the statement reads. "We urge our students, staff, parents and community members to continue utilizing these programs as needed. When they are used appropriately, these programs are effective. Working together, we can continue to keep our students and staff safe."
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