School officials review security | AspenTimes.com

School officials review security

John Colson

Though local school officials have not been inundated with calls from worried parents, they are reviewing their “crisis planning” procedures in the wake of recent school shootings in Colorado and around the country.There have been four deadly gun attacks in U.S. schools in just over a month, including the Sept. 27 murder of a teenage girl in Bailey, Colo., and Monday’s shooting in one-room Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania (see related story, page A17).Superintendents of the Roaring Fork and Aspen school districts said school principals have taken some calls from parents wondering what precautions are being taken to prevent similar incidents here.”It’s just so frightening for parents and kids,” said Aspen Superintendent Diana Sirko, noting that Aspen school officials have been meeting recently with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office to review the district’s crisis planning procedures.Sirko and Roaring Fork Superintendent Judy Haptonstall said their school principals have plans in place, and that they are reviewed and updated every year.Among plans formulated for the Aspen School District is an “off-site evacuation plan” that sends everyone in the schools across the Maroon Creek Road pedestrian bridge to the Aspen Recreation Center.According to veteran School Resource Officer Brad Onsgard, “No parents have expressed any concern to me, directly, [but] that doesn’t mean they’re not thinking about it.”Onsgard and his SRO partner Dan Glidden are being more diligent in locking all doors not being used. But Onsgard noted that there is a lot of activity at the schools right now because of the ongoing construction projects at the elementary and middle schools.He said that all the activity “would probably discourage anyone from coming here” with mayhem in mind, because “they’d run into a bunch of big guys with hammers and tools.”He said the schools will hold their regular “lock-down drill” some time soon, so that all students, teachers and staffers know where to go and what to do in the event of an incident.During those drills, administrators and SROs will sweep the buildings to be sure everyone has gone to their assigned locations.Onsgard added that with the open campuses of the modern schools, there are unavoidable risks “unless you want … a school to be totally locked and secure … with only one open door or security guards standing at every door.”There are schools that have that, because they have kids bringing guns to school. Fortunately, we’re not in that boat,” he continued. “I think everybody still feels pretty comfortable here.”John Colson’s e-mail address is jcolson@aspentimes.com