District 51 aims to keeps students safe

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Schools in Mesa County School District 51 are staying up to date with an app and new regulations to help keep students safe.

This summer, the district implemented the Claire Davis Act, which makes schools liable for the injuries of students and faculty if they don't take proper precautions to prevent a crime of violence.

It was put into place after Claire Davis was shot and killed by a school shooter at Arapahoe High School in Centennial in 2013.

Since March 2017, District 51 said it has received 195 anonymous tips of potential harm to students or schools.

"We have 22,000 students that come to the schools every day and we are responsible for their safety while they're here," said Tim Leon, the Director of Safety and Security for D-51. "If we don't take reasonable steps the district can be held liable from $350,000 to $990,000 on each injury or multiple injuries," Leon said.

In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, District 51 is making sure staff know what to do.

"How would you handle that information? Doing a threat assessment, involving law enforcement, contacting parents," Leon said.

And, students can report what they know easily with an app.

"The Safe To Tell program really brings the opportunity for solutions, it give students a place to share information," said Tanny McGinnis the D-51 safety and security coordinator said.

The program was implemented in 2008, but a new roll-out in April sparked a jump in usage.

"They moved to a text-to-tip process, so really the program moved forward quite a bit," McGinnis said.

Safe to Tell has helped the District keep up on tips.

Since April 2017, Grand Junction High School has seen 26 anonymous tips. All new administrators have to take an assessment to show their knowledge on what to do in school violence situations.

District 51 hired four new trauma couches to help with these types of incidents.

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