New safety measures for District 51 schools

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT News)-- With school just a few weeks away, Mesa County School District 51 wants to make sure that safety is a top priority.

In many schools, they’re adding in security vestibules into the front entrances. This means that there is going to be just one spot where the public can enter the school.

"When we started installing key-less locks, we started to realize how many doors the high schools have,” says the Director of Safety and Security, Tim Leon.

New security cameras and radios will also be added to help with communication. The biggest change this year is Stop, Look and Listen: the fire alarm response. District 51 staff noticed the fire alarm played a role in the Parkland Shooting. The new program will look to prevent this kind of situation from happening.

District 51 was recently recommended to have better equip high schools. Staff is currently working on upgrading Fruita Monument to better secure doorways as well as Palisade High School. Grand Junction High School will not be receiving these upgrades just yet. Staff explained that it would be a challenge to do it with the current state that the school is in. Staff says GJHS has almost 90 exterior doors, making it difficult to create one point of entry.

The Safety and Security Board says that administrators will be trained on these new protocols. All new safety measures are funded through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

Next week District 51 security will be working with local law enforcement on how to handle active shooter situations and crisis response.

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