District 20 parents hold counterprotest ahead of large protest scheduled


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A protest scheduled for Tuesday turned into a counterprotest by parents outside Chinook Trail Middle School.

The expected group of 1,600 people did not show. Regardless, both the middle and elementary schools were closed Tuesday in light of Academy School District 20 (ASD20) “learning a large protest may be scheduled.”

“This is new territory for us, we really have never dealt with something like this but we don’t want to disrupt the learning environment and to have our students to see 1600 people, perhaps with weapons perhaps CSPD with SWAT, it’s not what we want for our students so we had to take all the precautions to keep everyone safe,” ASD20 Chief Communication Officer Allison Cortez said.

No online learning was planned for Chinook Trail Elementary School on Tuesday because they cannot move to remote learning as easily as their older students, according to District 20 leaders.

ASD20 said Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) received a call inquiring about a permit to conduct a peaceful protest at Chinook Trail Middle School on Tuesday with over 1,600 protestors. This is the same school where parents had accused teachers of taping masks on students’ faces.

CSPD told FOX21 News on Tuesday an individual associated with Tuesday’s planned protest called inquiring about a ‘Noise Hardship Permit’ but ultimately did not submit an official application for this event. Nor was a ‘Special Events Permit’ for this event submitted (as one is not needed for the circumstances surrounding this event and manner of protest.)

Therefore, the department did not grant any permits as is being widely circulated. It is also important to note that in many instances, neither of those permits are required for first amendment activities. The ‘Noise Hardship Permit’ would only be needed if noise amplification tools are to be used (must follow city code and guidelines regarding noise and amplified sound). The ‘Special Events Permits’ are only required for large-scale events that close streets, etc.

“People were honestly fearful of coming once they learned who was supposed to be here protesting so I think that is what kept a lot of people away, but now we can say that we kept the militia away so I’m glad these parents showed up for the school and the community and we will show up every single time to support our schools,” Lara Matisek, ASD20 mom said.

“I strongly, strongly believe this is not about masks and it never has been about masks,” ASD20 parent Erin Stevens said.

“There is no reason to scare people to get your point across,” Carol Sullivan, a Chinook Trail Middle School parent said. “It’s an impediment they are missing out on learning today, they’ll learn some but today and tomorrow they’ll be discussing what is going on so they are missing out on two days of lessons.”

Read the full letter sent out to students, faculty, and staff below:

“Dear Chinook Trail Middle School Families,

“Tomorrow, Oct. 26, 2021, we will engage in a synchronous learning schedule, which means students will engage in remote learning and their school day will start two hours later than our normal in-person start time.  

“This decision was made from an abundance of caution after learning a large protest may be scheduled at Chinook Trail Middle School. To minimize the potential learning disruption, a synchronous learning day is in our students’ best interest.  

“We will resume with normal, in-person learning on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021.

“If you have any questions, please contact your grade-level administrator.

“Thank you for your patience and flexibility.

“Tom Andrew
“Chinook Trail Middle School”

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