Mesa and Montrose County School Districts handle threats differently

Grand Junction, Colo. (KFQX) — In 2022 there have been three reported incidents involving a weapon at schools in Mesa and Montrose County’s.

Administrators for the two school districts say they have students’ safety as their top priority, but they handled the possible threats very differently.

“When we get a report like this, we respond heavily,” Blaine Hall, Montrose Police Chief said after a four hour lock down at Montrose High School, following a report of a student with a gun on campus, no weapon was ultimately found.

In Mesa County in January, there were two reports of guns on campus that were found, but School District 51 didn’t classify either as a threat, “We are lucky that there have been no threats made in any of these recent incidents,” Emily Shockley, Mesa County School District says.

D51 only reports an incident as such, if a verbal threat is made, not if a gun on campus is found. At Grand River Academy, when a student was found with a gun parents were notified, but a full week after the incident, “We try and let parents know as soon as possible but we definitely have to investigate first and focus on finding as much information as we can,” Shockley says.

Meanwhile in Montrose when the district heard about the possibility of a gun on campus, “Immediately the school went into lockdown,” Matt Jenkins, Montrose County School District said.

D51 reports no lockdown was needed for either of the two incidents in Mesa County and says when parents are notified after the incident, its because, “We don’t want to ruin the investigation,” Shockley says.

So what sets Montrose County apart? “The Salem-Keizer model,” Jenkins says.

Three years ago, Montrose County switched from the states threat assessment protocol to the Salem-Keizer model.

The targeted and reactive approach through the model allows Montrose to assess, organize and maintain a threat with an increased presence from various law enforcement agencies. But to get the same response for a Mesa County incident? “That would be under the worst case scenario, most things can be handled by our security officers and some school resource officers,” Shockley says.

On a weekly basis Montrose County has threat and risk assessment meetings with community partners, “We will discuss what resources and what wrap around services a student and family may need,” Jenkins says.

The Salem-Keizer model is a program D51 officials have no intention of starting at this time as they continue to operate on the Dewey-Cornell system.

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Source: Grand Junction Local News | Mesa and Montrose County School Districts handle threats differently