'Completely irresponsible': Colorado school under fire for hosting Lauren Boebert event
Congresswoman Lauren Boebert speaking with attendees at the 2021 AmericaFest at the Phoenix Convention Center. (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

A Colorado school hosted lightning-rod Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) for a speech and question-and-answer session, but many families chose to keep their children home due to safety concerns.

Dolores High School administrators sent an email Monday notifying parents of the Republican lawmaker's visit but made clear that only students were permitted to attend the question-and-answer session, although the local Journal newspaper appealed Tuesday night and was granted access to the event, reported The Durango Herald.

“The school’s social studies department and administrative team felt that it was an opportunity to promote civic engagement amongst our students and to give them a rare chance to hear from the sitting congresswoman from our region and to promote civic engagement,” the email stated. “The MS/HS administration and the superintendent discussed this visit and the benefits the opportunity presents to students thoroughly prior to inviting the congresswoman to visit.”

School officials insisted the event was not political and said Boebert's campaign operations were not involved in any way, but they conceded the GOP lawmaker wasn't widely popular in her own congressional district.

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"We understand that there are many in our community who like her and many who do not like her," the email stated. "The reason she was invited to our campus is not about whether some of our students, staff, parents and community members like or dislike her personally and/or politically. She was invited because she is our representative to the United States House of Representatives. The work she is doing in Congress affects us all both regionally and nationally. It is our expectation that all students and staff engage in civil discourse while she is a guest on our campus."

However, school officials allowed students to opt out of the event, and many took that opportunity due to safety concerns due to Boebert's reputation for carrying a concealed weapon and the possibility that she might attract violence.

“This was hidden from parents and is very concerning that the school is not taking school shootings serious," that parent said. "This embattled politician could have a crazy person come after her putting our children in the line of fire. Completely irresponsible."

School officials said they confirmed multiple times from Bobert's staff that she wouldn't bring a gun to school, and the lawmaker lamented the politicization of the event.

"I wasn’t making anything political of it, you know, just explaining the basics of civics and government and the way things operate and giving them kind of an insider’s look without a partisan lens," Boebert said. "I’m not sure exactly what the safety concern would be, but I think that it was well received and the students were amazing, friendly and welcoming ... they were a joy."

The Herald's editorial board disagreed, saying Boebert offered up her political views rather than focusing on her journey from a local McDonald's manager to Congress or other less partisan topics.

"Like her or otherwise, Boebert is a polarizing politician," the board wrote. "According to our latest news story, she spoke about “moral decay”; becoming aware of issues that could infringe on students’ rights; the Freedom Caucus, a conservative group of GOP representatives; and liberties infringed on during the pandemic. Apparently, she also told students they should know about those issues and let it motivate them to stand up for their freedom."

"Come on!" the board added. "This is Boebert’s brand on stage in front of students without parents present."

The board also noted that Boebert had made false claims about the school district late last year they believe should have disqualified her from a visit.

"It wasn’t that long ago – Oct. 3, 2022, to be exact – that Boebert said Durango schools had litter boxes for students who identify as cats at a Mesa County Republican Women’s luncheon," the board wrote. "Parents had good reason to attend the assembly. More and more, parents are exercising their rights to know exactly what’s happening in school – public school, mind you."