Students say they waited for hours during Fruita lockdown

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FRUITA, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Some students are concerned about safety procedures following the lockdown situation at Fruita Monument High School and the 8/9 School on Wednesday.

"I think that [everything] went really well, I think that law enforcement worked really well with the schools and the teachers and parents," said Emily Shockley, a spokesperson for District 51.

Wednesday, parents lined the streets and kids huddled in place during a lockdown that was more than three hours long.

"Luckily for all of us it turned out to be nothing, but we have to respond as if it is something until we know for sure," said Shockley.

Some parents listened to police scanner traffic while waiting for the okay to pick up their kids.

"Listening to the police scanner and knowing it wasn't a huge deal, which was nice," said Nina DeHart, a mom.

But some radio chatter might not have been as calming.

"I did hear something over the radio about locks but I'm not sure exactly what was going on," said Shockley.

Some students at Fruita Monument High School said their room wasn't cleared for hours. They had to call school administration to remind they were still in room 505. A student said they were huddled in the dark, clenching scissors.

"We did receive information from a parent who said students inside believed they'd been passed over by the search team," said Lt. Nick Peck with the Fruita Police Department.

Fruita police said law enforcement had not made it to room 505 when the call was made.

In recordings of police radio traffic, about ten minutes after officials are alerted to head to the debrief area, it's announced that room 505 had not been cleared.

"We're still receiving information from parents that maybe there was a room where students were not released and put into a shelter in place by the officers," said Peck. "We also sent crews back again a second time to make sure that room was clear."

Eventually, the students were found and released, but they say in a text,
"the whole class agreed today that when there is another lockdown, we won't be staying in that room because we don't feel safe."

The district said all doors were locked, but that some might have been locked manually instead of electronically. They said they are looking into if the locks were all working properly, to make sure everyone knows they work.

The Mesa County Sheriff's Office, Fruita Police and District 51 all said every room at both schools were checked and cleared by law enforcement. They said it's not unusual for lockdowns and checks to take hours, especially when there are many classrooms.

The district and law enforcement will have a debrief to go over positive and negatives of this event and how it was executed, on March 19.

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