Another threatening call puts Aspen schools in ‘secure’ mode |

Another threatening call puts Aspen schools in ‘secure’ mode

Aspen schools were back to normal quickly on Wednesday.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Aspen School District went into “secure” status on Wednesday morning after receiving another threatening call.

At 9:30 a.m., law enforcement received a call with a similar message as the one that put the school into lockdown on Feb. 22, Aspen schools Communications Specialist Monica Mendoza said.

“Rather than locking down, we secured all buildings at the outside entrances while law enforcement cleared the campus,” she said.

“Secure,” or lockout, status means students and staff remain in the buildings, and exterior doors are locked, according to the Standard Response Protocol Aspen schools follow. Lockouts occur as a precautionary measure due to a suspected and/or immediate threat or hazard outside the building. Class resumes as normal, and the main entries to the buildings are monitored.

At the town-hall style safety discussion on Feb. 23 following the previous day’s lockdown, Pitkin County Sheriff Michael Buglione said if the swatting event were to happen again, law enforcement would respond in the same way. However, the schools went into “secure” rather than lockdown this time around.

An email went out to parents from the school district at 9:48 a.m. informing them of “secure” status.

“Parents please DO NOT come to campus. We will provide updates every 30 minutes,” the email stated in both English and Spanish. Notifications being sent in only English was a concern one student brought up at the town hall-style safety discussion.

Once the school received an “all clear,” activities resumed as normal, Mendoza said. Officers remained on campus for the remainder of the day to keep a sense of “situational awareness.”

After last week’s lockdown, the district and law enforcement identified communication as their No. 1 priority for improvement, which she said she believes they improved on this time around.

A PitkinAlert message went out at 10:07 a.m. informing the community the schools were in “secure” mode. It also stated law enforcement was present at Basalt schools, but classes were running as normal there.

Another PitkinAlert at 10:44 a.m. stated there was no threat at the Aspen schools, and schools were released to normal business. Law enforcement remained on campus throughout the day.

Much like last week, other Colorado schools were placed on “secure” due to swatting threats. According to The Denver Post, Boulder High School and Pennock Elementary School in Brighton were affected by swatting calls in addition to Aspen School District.

Colorado is not the only state receiving these phone calls. A report from EducationWeek says schools in California, Michigan, and Vermont have also been disrupted by swatting phone calls. Another report from Rochester’s News-Talk says an elementary school in Austin, Minnesota, went into lockdown on Monday morning as a result of a false report of an active shooter. According to the report, gunshots were believed to have been heard in the background of the emergency call.

More Like This, Tap A Topic

See more