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Aurora school board condemns ‘senseless acts of violence’ after shooting

Teenagers in hoodies sit on benches outside a school building. Several police officers in uniform stand outside the doors.

Students waited to be allowed back into their school at Aurora Central High School after a nearby drive-by shooting put the school on a secure perimeter on Nov. 15, 2021.

Helen H. Richardson / Denver Post

The Aurora school board started Tuesday’s meeting condemning the violence that shook Aurora Central High School the day before.

Six students were shot in Nome Park, right next to the high school and one of the district’s administration buildings.

“These senseless acts of violence are disgusting and they should not happen in our community nor any community,” said Kayla Armstrong-Romero, president of the Aurora school board.

The drive-by shooting happened about 12:45 p.m. Monday. Six students between the ages of 14 and 18 were shot. All students are expected to survive, but two have serious injuries. No suspects have been arrested. 

Armstrong-Romero also said the board and the district are “proud” of the community, and thanked students and staff, including the school resource officers who responded first to the scene and used tourniquets on at least two of the victims, according to police.

Students and staff finished the school day Monday, and were back in the building Tuesday, Armstrong-Romero said.

The comments were read by the board president at the beginning of the meeting and there was no other discussion.

In brief public comment, Linnea Reed-Ellis, president of the teachers union, also acknowledged that other schools nearby were also impacted. 

“The impact goes beyond Aurora Central,” Reed-Ellis said.

The district provided additional counselors at Aurora Central, as well as added security, but released no details about how many additional staff were in the building. The Aurora Police Department also said it would step up patrols around the school and park this week.

The Denver Post reports the shooting comes in the midst of a rise in youth crime. Seven teens have been shot — and three killed — in Aurora in the past three weeks. Seven teens have been killed in Aurora homicides this year.

The police chief and other city leaders called the violence a public health crisis. 

The high school has about 1,800 students. The district has been working to improve academic performance at the school, which is on a state watch list for low-performing schools. The district has plans to convert the school, and nearby Peoria Elementary, into a magnet school for visual and performing arts. 

The board on Tuesday approved a name, The Charles Burrell Visual and Performing Arts Campus, for the K-12 magnet school that is expected to open in fall 2022. Burrell was the first African American to play in a major symphony orchestra. Burrell, now 101, was at the school board meeting to celebrate the magnet school.

Detectives are asking anyone who may have observed Monday’s incident, and have not yet spoken to police, to reach out to the Aurora Police Major Crimes Unit or the Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720.913.STOP (7867), where they can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward. 

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