Off-duty deputies broke up an altercation between two Jeffco Public Schools employees and a Jeffco parent during the school board meeting last Thursday evening.
The parent, Natalie Adams, had addressed the board earlier in the meeting during public comment. Adams questioned why the board was considering a nearly $1.2 million contract to update the district’s technology and data-storage systems.
“(How can the board approve the contract) while the district is simultaneously moving full-steam ahead with inBloom?” Adams said to the board. “The district seems to lack a master plan for its storage needs and, instead, is spending money and efforts moving in various directions at the same time.”
Adams said that if the district is planning to use inBloom, less data would need to be stored by the district and that the upgrade should not be necessary.
Later in the meeting, the $1.2 million contract failed to pass on a 2-2 vote, with board President Lesley Dahlkemper and board member Jill Fellman in favor, and Paula Noonan and Laura Boggs voting no.
The Jeffco Board of Education normally has five members, but the District 1 seat has been vacant since August, when Robin Johnson moved out of Jefferson County.
After the resolution failed, many Jeffco staff members left the meeting and entered the lobby outside the board room.
According to a statement released by Jeffco Schools on Friday: “A staff member was leaving the board room and asked (Adams) to not misrepresent the facts about the district’s technology systems.”
In an e-mailed statement, Adams said she was standing in the back of the room when Lorie Gillis, Jeffco Schools’ chief financial officer, spoke to her.
“In an angry tone she said to me, ‘You need to get your facts straight,’ ” Adams said. “I was trying to follow up on her statement to understand what facts she felt I got wrong when I was blocked by Allen Taggart.”
Taggart is Jeffco Schools’ attorney.
Jeffco’s statement said Adams followed Gillis and that Taggart observed the behavior and placed himself between Gillis and Adams. The statement continued:
“At that time, (Adams) pushed (Taggart) repeatedly until district security and law enforcement intervened,” according to the district’s statement.
“Taggart prevented me from leaving the board room and forcefully detained me at the doorway,” Adams said. “Taggart successfully intimidated and scared me, so I walked back to my seat. After a few minutes, I was still so overcome with fear and was shaking. I decided to go home and left the building.”
Adams will be issued a no-trespass order from Jeffco Schools, which prohibits her from entering the Jeffco Education Center building without permission from district security, said Lynn Setzer, spokesperson for the district.
Adams is a Jeffco resident and a parent of two Jeffco students.
Setzer said the district has no plans for further action at this time.
“I am so afraid for children’s safety and the safety of their data that I attended a school board meeting to offer public comment,” Adams said. “(I’m) trying to make a difference in my children’s education.”
The district’s plan to test and possibly implement the inBloom system for storing student data has led to controversy, with numerous parents expressing concerns about the security of the data and the type of information that would be collected.