Local News

Emoji-filled email from third grader prompts Pueblo school scare

Emoji-filled email from third grader prompts scare

PUEBLO, Colo. - More than 200 students at Sunset Park Elementary School did not attend class Friday after an email filled with emojis, including guns, knives and bombs, was sent to students.

Dalton Sprouse, director of communications for Pueblo City Schools (District 60), said the district investigated the email and spoke with the student and determined there was no threat.

The email was sent at 7:54 p.m. Thursday by a third grader, who attends Fountain International Magnet School.

Other emojis in the email included smiley faces, cows and sheep. Sprouse said the emojis did not appear to be arranged in any meaningful way.

"The emojis that were displayed on the email seem to be extremely random in a non-threatening manner, but because of the way it was delivered, we wanted to make sure that we did a thorough investigation," Sprouse said.

Parents received an automated message from the principal Friday morning, informing them about the email. Jessica Mascarenas wasn't sure if she wanted to bring her two daughters to school.

"I asked my girls, 'Do you want to go?' and they were like, yeah. So they went in and being that I live close by, I would drive by every now and then just to see what was going on. Seen a lot of parents taking their kids out," Mascarenas said.

Sprouse said parents should talk with their kids about what they write online. In the meantime, the district is changing access to mailing list servers.

"We're looking into tightening up those group policies and making some restrictions internally that would prevent this from happening again," Sprouse said.

Even so, Mascarenas said she's mindful of her childrens' safety.

"You can't take stuff like this lightly," she said.

Sprouse wouldn't say if the student who sent the email will face any disciplinary action. The student told administrators that he didn't realize he sent an email to the entire school.

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