Green Mountain High School is dealing with a doubly troubling situation, following the death of Makayla Grote, a 2016 graduate of the school, on Nov. 18.
The suspect in Grote's death was recently a student at Green Mountain, and has been detained by law enforcement. In a letter to the Green Mountain community on Nov. 19, Principal Colleen Owens, wrote that since the suspect is a minor, no further information can be shared.
A vigil was held for Grote on Nov. 24 at Jackson Park, and a memorial was held for her at the Colorado National Speedway on Nov. 26. A GoFundMe has been set up for the Grote family at www.gofundme.com/makayla-grote-memorial-fund.
"I would like to express my appreciation to all the staff, students, and community members that have extended support and kindness during this difficult time," Owens wrote. "It's heartbreaking when violence touches our students and families, and hard to come to terms with how and why it happened."
The suspect was the subject of a letter Owens sent out on Oct. 17, where she said a former Green Mountain student had been making threats to current students.
"Students reported this incident to school administration and local law enforcement. Both Jeffco Public Schools security staff and local law enforcement quickly intervened and the student that made the threats is currently detained," she wrote.
Owens also added in the Oct. 17 letter that the school could not share any details about the incident, but wanted to make sure community members knew the school was "taking action."
In a statement sent to media, Diana Wilson, chief communications officer with Jeffco Schools, said the "tragedy is particularly heartbreaking because so many people on so many different levels worked to help the accused student as well as protect all our students.
School administrators, counselors and teachers, school district mental health, security and discipline staff, local law enforcement, youth intervention specialists, community mental health workers and more were working with the suspect, his family, and other students and families to mitigate this threat," Wilson's statement continued.
The school district says it will not comment further on the incident due to student privacy laws and the on-going investigation.
Both Owens and Wilson emphasized that moving forward, the focus is helping students, staff and the Green Mountain community grieve, including increasing security and mental health staff at the school.
"I know our GMHS family will grieve together, and I also know we will persevere together," Owens wrote. "I hope our community will continue to take the high road - the media and others may speculate, but we will remain focused on taking care of our own."
Other items that may interest you