Colo. school security group rejects guns

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — A Grand Junction group considering security options for schools is rejecting arming teachers or volunteers, opting instead for panic buttons and bullet-proof windows to protect children and teachers.

The District 51 School Security and Safety Work Group is making its recommendations on Tuesday. The group has never been able to get a majority of members to back armed guards.

Group member David Cox voiced the only opposition in the meeting to abandoning the idea of armed district employees at this time. Cox suggested the school board may consider asking voters in a referred measure if they want to give principals the option to have armed personnel in certain schools.
He said the 25-member group of law enforcement, mental health, district personnel and citizens may not reflect the attitude of voters.

Grand Junction High School Principal Jon Bilbo, also a member of the group, said he is uncomfortable with the idea of allowing voters to override the opinions of district staff on the issue.

A survey of teachers by the Mesa Valley Education Association and district-conducted surveys of support staff and administrators found none of the three personnel groups had a majority willing to bring armed employees or volunteers into schools.

Recommendations include panic buttons, special locks, electronic sign-in systems, scanners, more cameras, bullet-proof doors and windows, electronic door locks, clearer signs on doors and buildings, and more two-way radios.

According to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, other suggestions include creating a way for schools to identify students who may be a danger to themselves or others, creating better relationships between students and counselors, and increasing training in bullying and suicide prevention.

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