Police investigating middle school incident

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— Police and school officials are investigating a report that something "inappropriate" happened between a group of boys and a girl at Steamboat Springs Middle School.

The incident occurred Thursday afternoon at the school. Officials would say only that the incident may have involved inappropriate conduct by a "handful of boys."

The incident came to light only after a friend of the girl contacted school counselor Margi Briggs-Casson Thursday evening. Briggs-Casson passed the information on to Steamboat Springs High School Principal Dave Schmid.

Schmid was contacted because middle school Principal Tim Bishop and Assistant Principal Jerry Buelter were at a convention.

Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Cyndy Simms said no wrongdoing has been confirmed. She said no one is aware of any animosity among the students involved, all of whom were in school Friday.

"We don't know the reasoning," Simms said. "We don't have any reason for it happening other than it happened."

Simms stressed that police and school officials are still investigating the incident.

The Routt County Sheriff's Office began interviewing students Friday. The Sheriff's Office is involved because the middle school is within the county's jurisdiction.

Sheriff John Warner said the students' parents are involved in the interview process.

Simms and Warner did not know when interviews might wrap up.

It is too early to know if punishment is warranted, Warner said. He said the Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident as a crime, but that did not mean criminal activity had occurred.

"At this point, I don't know," Warner said. "It's too soon to comment or speculate."

Simms said the school and police officials plan to handle the investigation carefully.

"We live in a small town, and we want to make sure our kids aren't inappropriately labeled or viewed," Simms said. "We don't want any judgment to be passed until we have all the facts."

To reach Danie Harrelson call 871-4203

or e-mail dharrelson@steamboatpilot.com

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