Schools Working to Improve Lockdown Communications
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. At a moment's notice, District 51 schools can go into a lockdown to protect students and faculty from a nearby threat. Last week several incidents prompted lockdowns in Mesa County. While students are prepared, the unexpected can happen.
It's every parents nightmare.
"My son heard that someone brought a gun to school," said Central High School mother Alisha Ullrich.
Tim Leon, director of safety, security and transportation, said, "Administration and law enforcement responded outside the parking lot and started directing those students that were in close proximity, to the interior of the building."
For Ullrich, that fear intensified once she knew where her son was, "By the time him and a couple of his friends got to the school, they were already locked out. I understood that they had to lock the school, but I was very concerned that there wasn't a plan in place for those children that were locked out."
Many students went to Longs Park, right next to the school. While they could hear the PA system, messages were directed towards students inside.
"I just, I feel like they failed my child. They do practice lockdowns, and try to prepare them for things that happen like that, I just think that they missed a part of the plan that was important," said Ullrich.
School officials say lockdowns are more difficult at the high school level, but believe a new alert system will help in the future.
"With our new notification system that's just coming online as we speak, parents can sign up to get text messages, emails and phone calls," said Leon.
The school also has a phone application to notify students of alerts.
"Our job is to manage the students, get them in a safe and secure spot as quickly as possible, and then we can get a notification out to parents," Leon said.
Ullrich says the incident was a good wake-up call, and is relieved everyone came out of the incident safely.
Leon tells NewsChannel 5 that if a student is locked out, it's best they don't come back to or near campus. He also urges parents to update all contact information with their school.
Additionally, download the phone application. Palisade High School, Fruita Monument High School and Garfield Middle School also have one.