Glenwood Middle School locked down |

Glenwood Middle School locked down

Heather McGregor
Post Independent Editor
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – School officials and police locked down Glenwood Springs Middle School from 3:40 until 5 p.m. Tuesday after receiving a report from a citizen who saw a person with a possible weapon within a few blocks of the school.

Glenwood Springs police did not return a reporter’s phone call as of press time Tuesday. It is not known if a suspect was identified or apprehended.

A Glenwood Springs police officer was at the school teaching the Junior Police Academy class in the after-school program, according Sandy DeCrow, GSMS principal.

“Immediately, the staff at the school notified the police officer who was there teaching. They lock down the building and they take over,” she said.

“It was great that they were there. They had the building secured within one minute of having the report,” DeCrow said. “Once they take over, I just make sure the kids are safe.”

Superintendent Judy Haptonstall confirmed the incident in an email sent to school board members at 5:35 p.m.

“There were police officers in the area immediately and all of the students inside the school were safe,” Haptonstall reported.

“No one was approaching the building, and at no point did anyone try to enter the building,” DeCrow added.

The lockdown occurred during the after-school program time. Most of the school’s 500 students and many teachers had departed after school let out for the day at 2:50 p.m.

DeCrow said about 100 students stay for the after-school classes, along with a few teachers and coaches. There were also a few parents in the school. Everyone was locked down in rooms throughout the school.

Haptonstall also reported, “Some elementary school students happened to be on the bus that stopped to do a regular pick-up of middle school kids. The kids from the bus were brought into the building.”

A student who experienced the lockdown, Glenwood Springs High School senior Cody Derby, said he saw a police officer walking in the hallway outside the gym.

He and several other GSHS basketball players were at the middle school Tuesday coaching eighth-grade players. The lockdown happened about 20 minutes after their practice had started.

They were all locked down together in the gym. After about 15 minutes, the students and coaches were told to move to the small gym, Derby said. With no windows in the gym, they couldn’t see what was going on outside or elsewhere in the school.

“Only the adults and us seniors knew exactly what was going on,” Derby said. “The middle-schoolers only knew we were in a lockdown.”

“People kept their cool, and the adults handled it really well,” he said. Students have practiced the lockdown routine many times, he said, and it was hard to tell this from a practice.

“I was just shocked it was actually happening and it was real,” Derby said. “All the adults were really serious about it, and that’s when I realized it was a big deal and we should take it kind of serious.”

In her email message, Haptonstall told school board members that during a lockdown, law enforcement “requires that cell phones be collected from students right away to prevent students from calling their parents. This is a safety measure for both the students and the parents, as a parent’s first response is to head to the school.

“When the threat is outside the building, parents showing up will complicate the work police are doing,” she added.

Derby said around 4:45 p.m., students whose parents were waiting outside the front door were allowed to leave, and then the rest of the students, teachers and coaches were allowed to freely leave out the front door of the school at 5 p.m.

“When I was released, I just saw police cars leaving from all around the school. Somebody told me there were around eight cars,” Derby said.

DeCrow said she planned to send a letter home to parents today explaining what happened.

“We locked down the school as a precautionary measure. The report was just a report, but it’s better to be safe than sorry,” she said.

DeCrow said school will resume as normal Wednesday morning.

“Everything was deemed safe. No one has instructed us to not have school,” she said.

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