Staff Editorial: A deafening silence at Rangeview

Feature Photo By: Mya Johnson – Candles, snacks, and flowers lay on the side of Tower Road near where Mark died. Students, family, and friends set up a memorial for Mark just a few days after he died and people continue to add to it.

By: Raider Review Editors

On August 18th, Principal Ron Fay made an announcement to the student body informing us that the much anticipated Color Dance would be postponed until the following Friday. An hour before that, whispers could be heard through the Commons as a few people shared that someone had been killed in their neighborhood. We didn’t realize the connection between these two events until later.

On the afternoon of August 17th, Mark Anthony Galvan, an 18-year-old Rangeview student, was shot and killed near the intersection of Louisiana and Yampa — fewer than two miles from campus, in broad daylight, and during school hours. Another tragedy had struck the student body. Even now, many students have no idea about the event that has occurred right in our backyard.

We have heard rumors from students and community members alike about the circumstances surrounding Mark’s death, but still nothing has been confirmed.

The reason for this, as assistant principal Tammy Strouse had informed a Review editor, is that they are unable to speak about what happened because it is still under investigation.

“It’s a legal issue,” said Mrs. Strouse.

Mark poses in a mirror selfie. This picture circulated social media following his death as people urged the community to come honor Mark. The last line reads, “He will not be forgotten”.

Still, many are outraged that the student body as a whole is not aware of the death, with some not even knowing Mark’s name.

While teachers and administration alike can share memories and discuss the things they liked and miss about Mark, they cannot discuss what happened in regards to his death, some have said.

It really made us think about the community we live in. Is there no news because we live in an area with high crime rates? Would word get out in a community that was better off? What if this happened to a high school student in Parker or Highlands Ranch just blocks from his high school? Would there still be no media coverage or mention of this person’s death?

We thought that Rangeview and its community would be informed of the loss of a student at school. Afterall, when we have had other tragedies in our community, the school knew immediately and came together to raise money and show support. Rangeview has yet to take action to inform the students of Mark’s death as we have not had a call, email, report, or even announcement from any administrator.

It has been three weeks since his death and we have still heard nothing. In Littleton, two teens committed suicide on back-to-back nights. Two days after the second suicide, the Denver Post had already published a story talking about the suicides that had occurred along with six others that have happened this year.

Why is it that in Littleton, students’ deaths are covered in the news within a few days but Rangeview hasn’t even heard a whisper about Mark’s death from any media or community leader? What is so different? We deserve to know that we lost a student, and Mark deserves our respects.

It is good that the news is discussing what happened in Littleton but it needs to address what happened here, too. And of course we are glad that Rangeview supported those families who were suffering but this student deserves the same. We understand that the adults at Rangeview are unable to disclose the information concerning Mark’s passing, but the students deserve to at least know that he is no longer with us.

After speaking on the phone with Officer Kenneth Forrest, a Public Information Officer for the Aurora Police Department, he made a very similar statement to Strouse, remarking, “It’s a current case under investigation, so I can’t discuss it.”

But he did mention, “We sent out a press release for the media and we’ll [continue to] update it with other information on the case.”

Many people laid flowers on Mark’s casket during his burial ceremony. The funeral took place at Queen of Peace Catholic Parish. (Sara Elouadi)

But we have still heard nothing. A quick Google search of Mark’s name will reveal that. No update from the police; no word from Rangeview.

Our goal was to also discuss Mark with Mr. Fay, but he failed to get back to us.

It was very clear after reaching out to several people that understanding what happened to Mark was not information that we would be able to get.

But we still have so many questions and so do many other Rangeview students.

In the press release published on auroragov.org’s blog, the post stated, “At 3:16 this afternoon (August 17) the Aurora Police Department responded to a report of a shooting in the area of E Louisiana Ave and S Yampa Way.”

The following school day, the Color Dance was cancelled with almost no real explanation. Some students were angry or upset or even confused. Mr. Fay had said that it was because of an “incident,” but no one knew what that meant. Rumors were spreading through the school, and the one that was true was that we had lost a fellow student; he had been shot and killed.

It is hard to believe that was true and now, three weeks later, we still have not heard a word about Mark.

Even though we could not hear from staff that a student was killed, we at least deserved to hear that we lost a member of our community – of our family. Students took classes or even days off to mourn him and the neighborhood set up a memorial for him and yet the school never got word of it at all. The district did provide grief counselors for the students the day after Mark’s death but there was little word of this.

We, as well as many at Rangeview, want to help in anyway that we can. We should be able to come together and raise money for the family as they paid for a funeral and are adjusting to a life without him. We can’t though because we don’t even know what happened.

Ultimately, Rangeview deserves to know what’s going on in the Aurora community and within the Rangeview community. We lost someone. It affected students. It affected teachers. We can’t come together unless we are informed.

If the details of his death cannot be disclosed, we should at least hear from an adult that we lost someone. We need to be informed — silence is deadly. We need to come together. Action can’t be taken unless something is spoken of Mark.

Make sure to read our tribute to Mark as well. 

A Life Tributes page was set up in memory of Mark. To donate, leave a message, or comment memories, click here.

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Tribute: Long Live Mark
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