District 20 school reveals investigation findings on alleged mask-taping incident

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– Academy District 20 school Chinook Trail Middle School sent out a message to students, parents, faculty and staff revealing its internal investigation findings as a response to the alleged mask-taping incident that may have taken place in October.

The response also comes after a protest that took place at the school, causing it to close for the day in advance out of an abundance of caution on Tuesday, Oct. 26.

The message sent out today, Nov. 9, to family written by Principle Tom Andrew reads as follows:


“Chinook Trail Middle School Families,

“When we opened our doors two years ago, we adopted the vision statement, “Chinook Trail Middle School is a community of life-long learners who value relationships built on trust.” We also said, “People over process is what makes Chinook Trail special. We share information openly, broadly and deliberately, and we are extraordinarily candid with each other.” We strive to live by these statements.

“That is why we are sending this communication. It is also why we held a meeting last night with the families and guardians of Team 642. We want to be open with you and talk about the last few weeks candidly.

“After a parent raised concerns, we began and investigation on October 15, 2021, into allegations teachers warned students if they wore their face mask incorrectly, they would be provided tape to keep it in place.

“Our internal investigation was thorough and impartial. More than 100 students and 10 teachers and staff provided statements and were interviewed by school administration, the district Human Resources Department, district Security and district Legal Counsel.

“After examining all evidence, the district determined a policy/procedure was violated by the teaching team of 642. While we found that the teachers did NOT affix any student’s mask to their face, we did learn teachers directed students to affix their mask to their face with tape; and students believed they were required, by a teacher, to use tape to affix their mask to their face.

“We are disappointed, both by the decisions made and the outcome of the investigation. More importantly, we are disappointed this event led to learning and social and emotional impacts to our students and their families.

“Personnel matters are confidential, and I therefore cannot comment on the specifics of the investigation as it relates to our staff. But I can share our teachers and school leadership met with the student pod to address the issue and answer any questions this morning. Additionally, counseling staff is available to any student from the class pod who may need it.

“The last few weeks have been challenging, but we must cast our vision forward. We will learn from this situation, and we will do better because we are better. We look forward to growing together and continuing along this learning journey by your side.

“Tom Andrew
Principal
“Chinook Trail Middle School”


The meeting referred to in the letter was held on Monday, Nov. 9, at the middle school for families who were impacted by the mask-taping allegations.

Allison Cortez, chief communications officer for Academy District 20, released a statement that said after all evidence had been examined during the investigation, it was found that a policy or procedure was violated by four teachers.

The teachers did not tape any mask to any students’ faces but instead instructed students to tape their mask to their face. Students interpreted this instruction to believe that they were required by a teacher in authority to use tape on their masks.

Over 100 students and 10 faculty and staff members gave statements and were interviewed by school administration, Academy District 20’s Human Resources department, district security personnel and district legal counsel.

Cortez included in the statement that teachers at the middle school met with students to discuss the situation today, Nov. 9., and that administration policy was followed in order to address specific, confidential personnel matters.

To learn more about Academy District 20, click here.

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