CANYON CITY – Grant School District No. 3 held intruder drills at its schools last week.

The district is among schools across the state and nation that have been reviewing security measures in the wake of last month’s tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

District 3 Superintendent Mark Witty said the aim of the Jan. 15 training was to enhance security of the school buildings by finding physical improvements that can be made.

Teachers reviewed the procedures with their students beforehand, including locking the classroom door, turning lights off, getting down and covering windows if possible.

The heads of the three district schools gave an evaluation of the drills at the Jan. 16 school board meeting.

“It was kind of eerie,” said Humbolt Elementary Principal Monty Nash. “That was the quietest I’ve ever seen that school.”

Principal Curt Shelley noted that Grant Union Junior-Senior High School was in lockdown within just 31 seconds.

“We did a good job,” he said.

The scenario for Grant Union’s drill included one or more “shooters” inside the building, and because the “intruder” was inside, the outer doors remained open, and only classroom doors were locked.

A minor glitch occurred when they found a substitute teacher didn’t have a key to lock the door. Also, a student returned to school late from lunch while the drill was taking place, but otherwise the school halls were empty.

Pluses for Grant Union, Shelley said, include their video monitoring and intercom systems, and “School Reach” in which school officials can contact parents by phone using one call.

Shelley said details of the training were discussed with local law enforcement in December.

At Seneca School, head teacher Adele Cerny said school security plans are reviewed once a year.

Policies working for the school include having only one entry and keeping classroom doors locked at all times, she said.

“The door may be ajar, but all they have to do is close the door,” she said.

Cerny added that staff supervising kids at recess carry walkie talkies.

She and Humbolt teacher Georgia Boethin noted the students asked good questions during the training, such as what to do if they are on their way to or from class during a lockdown.

Nash commended his staff for their handling of the drill, particularly with the younger students.

“The kids did an excellent job because of the teachers,” he said.

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