Colorado school cancels classes over threat after Trump piñata incident

Reuters News
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Posted: May 08, 2017 9:04 PM

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - A Colorado high school canceled classes on Monday following an unspecified online threat, authorities said, days after a Spanish teacher there was suspended over allegations he allowed students to strike a piñata depicting President Donald Trump.

Activities at Roosevelt High School in the town of Johnstown, about 40 miles north of Denver, were put on hold out of an abundance of caution, Martin Foster, superintendent of the Johnstown-Milliken school district, said in a statement.

"Recent tragedies around the country and in our own state have heightened everyone's concern for the safety of students," Foster said. He did not say if the threat was related to the piñata incident.

Colorado has been the scene of several school shootings and threats, most notably the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, where two students fatally shot a teacher and 12 students before committing suicide.

Foster said he became aware last Friday of social media posts of a Cinco De Mayo event at the school where a photograph of Trump was affixed to a piñata. Cinco De Mayo is an annual celebration commemorating the Mexican army's defeat of French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

"This was an incredibly disrespectful act that does not reflect the values of Roosevelt High School or the school district," Foster said.

The teacher, whom the district has not publicly identified, has been placed on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated, Foster said.

Classes and other activities will resume on Tuesday with an increased police presence at the school, Assistant Superintendent Jason Seybert said by telephone.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Ben Klayman and Peter Cooney)