By Dillon Thomas
AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The father of an Aurora Hills Middle School sixth grader says he was improperly labeled as a sex offender when he recently visited his son’s school.
Larry Mitchell visited the school in October in hopes of supporting his son during a school presentation.
However, when he gave his ID card over to school staff, the school accused him of being a sex offender.
“I am not a sex offender,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell, a teaching artist who regularly works in Colorado schools, said his ID card was processed through the school’s security screening system, named “Raptor.”
The system, like many others he has used while on school visits, scans ID cards and runs a background check. Aurora Public Schools implemented the system in their buildings to make sure they knew who was visiting their facilities.
“(My visit) started out with a lot of whispering, nobody told me what was going on,” Mitchell said.
Aurora Hills Middle School staff followed district protocol after the system flagged Mitchell as a sex offender and called security. Mitchell was told he would not be allowed to enter the building without an escort with him at all times.
“I was just really confused as to why this would have popped up,” Mitchell said. “I’ve never had any problems scanning in to a school.”
Mitchell elected to leave the school property in order to avoid causing a scene. His wife attended the presentation without him.
School district spokesperson Corey Christiansen told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas the security staff was in the process of trying to clear Mitchell, which would acknowledge the error and allowed him to enter the building. However, they said he was gone before they could verify the error on their own.
“We have determined that Mr. Mitchell is not on the national sex offender registry. It was a situation where there was similar information with what he was providing our school staff, and what Raptor system came up with as a potential match,” Christiansen said.
Mitchell took his ID card to the Aurora Police Department for checking. The police told him his name had no flags associated with it or his birth date. When CBS Denver checked similar court information, Mitchell’s name did not show up.
Mitchell feared his clean record would be tarnished by the improper label handed down by the district.
“This is what the scan says, and this is what you’ll be for (Aurora Public Schools) forever,” Mitchell worried.
Mitchell said he felt unwelcome at Aurora Hills Middle School and asked the district to address the issue immediately, so others would not experience what he did.
“We certainly do hope he would feel comfortable coming back to Aurora Hills,” Christiansen said.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.