About KGNU

Failures in Communication: School Shooting Report

In Breaking News, Featured, Morning Magazine

Earlier this week, a report issued by the University of Colorado Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence and the University of Northern Colorado’s Department of Criminal Justice, found major faults in communication at Arapahoe High School in Littleton, in the lead up to the December 2013 shooting  of 17-year-old Claire Davis. The shooter, 18 year old Karl Pierson, also killed himself.  The report found that  in the months leading up to the shooting, school administrators failed to properly communicate and track safety concerns about Karl Pierson. KGNU’s Hannah Leigh Myers spoke with Co-principal investigator Bill Woodward, Director of training and technical assistance at Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence.

“We list 27 different decisions that got made, none of which were critical, but taken together they set a climate wherein people wanted to report or were worried about Karl, those people were not listened to very well, so there was a climate of ‘we’re the perfect school so this stuff can’t possibly happen.”


Woodward says the report makes 32 different recommendations, 14 of which are major recommendations…”some of the major recommendations are 1. use a validated threat assessment tool. The one that we’ve found that has the best research behind it, that’s proven most effective is the one that the State of Virginia uses. Another recommendation around information sharing is they’ve got to complete the inter-agency information sharing agreement. That was authorized by law after Columbine and it still has not been completed in this school and all schools should have that information sharing agreement so they can share information with mental health, with substance abuse people, with police, with probation or parole or whoever else might be involved in that kids life.”

Read the report here.