GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — A gunman opened fire at a Texas Elementary School Tuesday, killing at least 19 children and two adults.
School shootings are recurring tragedies across our nation leading us all to ask, what can we do about it?
Here in Mesa County, we may feel far from victims of the Robb Elementary shooting, but as KREX 5’s Austin Sack reports, School District 51 is now re-evaluating its current safety plan.
In his special report Tuesday(5/24), President Joe Biden said it’s time for America to act, “As a nation, we have to ask when in God’s name are we going to stand up against the gun lobby,” President Biden.
Tim Leon the Director of Safety and Security at District 51 says, it’s always tragic and shocking when we hear about a school shooting, “When it is at an Elementary School, it can be even more devastating and emotional,” Leon says.
The nation paused Tuesday, as events unfolded at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde Texas. Officials confirm the gunman opened fire and killed at least 19 children and two adults.
School districts across the nation including D 51, are once again re-evaluating current school safety plans, “Well life safety is always our number one goal, to minimize loss of life,” Leon says.
The security team at D 51 currently uses the Dewey-Cornell threat assessment from 2018, while Montrose uses a newer Salem-Keizer plan, “Do we need to change the protocol, do we have to physically change something in the building, but again it is all about life safety,” Leon says.
Leon reminds us our safety plans are more about limiting life loss than prevention, he says counseling is available and parents should talk to their kids about fears or concerns they may have in the classroom, “I sat down with my son last night and asked him how he felt about it,” Leon says, “Did he feel safe in our schools, did he have any concerns and how all of this was making him feel.”
Most parents feel some worry every day they send children to school and already overstretched teachers are faced with an extraordinary burden, “We also ask them to have a mindset that they are going to take control of that classroom and even to a point where they would defend themselves and their students,” Leon says.
Among Tuesday’s victims was 4th-grade teacher Eva Mireles, “Whenever we have these types of the situation there is always that call for arming teachers,” Leon says.
Leon says after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012 a local safety committee considered if teachers should carry a weapon in the classroom, the answer a resounding no, “If we were to do anything moving forward, we would probably put more security officers in the school,” Leon says.
In District 51, head of security Tim Leon tells KREX with currently 23 law enforcement school officers and 10 armed security guards about half of D 51 is guarded at all times./
Just Tuesday (5/24) officers participated in an eight-hour-long active shooter training, but Leon says if the District had more officers there would be one in every classroom.