DENVER (KDVR) — School leaders from districts across Colorado are coming together to keep students safe. The group joined the state’s Department of Public Safety on Thursday to announce new crisis guidelines.
Colorado has seen its fair share of school tragedies. These leaders said they are putting their heads together now in hopes of preventing the next one.
“Colorado, unfortunately, has experienced 10 school shootings between 1999 and 2021. It’s resulted in 18 murdered and 48 wounded,” said John McDonald, with Jeffco Public Schools Department of School Safety. McDonald worked with Christine Harms, of the Colorado School Safety Resource Center, to get other educators and safety experts on board to craft the guidance.
On the heels of the 23rd anniversary of the first and most notable school shooting in Colorado’s history, at Columbine High School, a group of educators and emergency managers gathered to say: no more.
“We’re seeing the same failures over and over again and it has to get better, we have to do better. Our students, our staff, our schools deserve better than that,” McDonald said.
Colorado school crisis guidelines unveiled
The group focused on protecting students of all ages, from higher education down to kindergarten.
The guidelines start with preparing schools ahead of a crisis, then they lay out how to handle an active emergency, followed by what schools should do immediately after an incident and ending with how to support communities immediately after a crisis.
“These guidelines do not replace the emergency operations plans of any of our schools, but they are there to prepare them for these large-scale emergencies ahead of time, to give them assistance during any of these kinds of events and to provide suggestions to help in the aftermath as they are responding,” Harms said.
They say they based guidance on training models and previous events.The group said Colorado is leading the way with this effort.
“As someone who works all over the country with school districts who just experienced tragedy, I’ve not seen such a comprehensive program anywhere else in the country. I love the fact that Colorado is leading the way,” McDonald said.