Aurora, Colorado: The principal of Aurora West College Preparatory Academy has been placed on administrative leave after another administrator allegedly showed her a gun at the school and threatened coworkers.
Tushar Rae, dean of instruction at the school, is accused of pulling out a gun in front of Principal Taisiya Tselolikhina and threatening to shoot two other administrators in the kneecaps in an incident that triggered a lockdown April 4.
Rae was arrested later the same day in Denver, released and then rearrested the following day on new charges of unlawfully carrying a weapon in a school and carrying a concealed weapon.
Corey Christiansen, spokesman for Aurora Public Schools, confirmed Tselolikhin will be on leave with pay while police and the district investigate the incident. A letter to parents dated Tuesday said the district is looking for a “seasoned interim principal” to take over while she is on leave.
Rae and Tselolikhin had argued about student testing and his feeling of being unrecognized the day before he brought the gun to school, according to an affidavit from an Aurora Police Department detective. The affidavit said Tselolikhin ordered the lockdown after Rae told her to leave his office.
The full scope of the incident remains unclear. When school officials communicated with parents about the lockdown, they said it was due to a “reported threat” and “rumors of an armed individual in the area” — despite the principal having allegedly seen the weapon and heard the threats firsthand.
The police affidavit didn’t mention Rae visiting any rooms other than his own office while armed, but some students alleged he interacted with them.
Aurora West College Prep sent parents vague messages after police say administrator displayed gun to principal, made threats.
In a video posted to YouTube on Wednesday, students questioned Superintendent Rico Munn, and one girl said Rae entered her math class and “joked around” while apparently carrying a concealed weapon. Other students said that if they had known an administrator who had keys to their classrooms had brought a gun to school, they would have barricaded themselves in those rooms.
Munn declined to comment Thursday on the students’ allegations, but in the video he said the district was working with imperfect information. He denied attempting to conceal anything about the incident.
“There is absolutely no reason or upside for me to try to cover anything up,” he said in the video. “It’s all going to become public.”