Some school districts act fast on alleged school threat

Emily Allen, Multimedia Journalist /Target 13 Investigator , emily.allen@krdo.com
POSTED: 06:43 PM MST Jan 11, 2013 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Some school districts reflected on their proactive approach Friday after Colorado Springs Police gave an alert about a possible school threat.

CSPD notified school districts that they were tipped off from a third party that a 27-year-old man made an alleged threat and mentioned the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The threat didn't specify a particular school.

District 11 and District 20 took steps to ensure safety at their schools. District 11 alerted security and it increased patrols at schools. District 11 and District 20 worked with CSPD and increased police patrols around schools. District 20 said it passed along the description of the man in question to security.

Both districts said they acted quickly, but emphasized that security is already up.

"We've beefed up security since the Newtown, Conn., shooting," said District 20's chief of security, Larry Borland. He said he and his security team specifically strengthened patrols at elementary schools in the district.

"We always act in a state as if we are on high alert, making sure that our building is secure at all times. Even though there might be other things happening out there, we always keep a heightened sense of awareness," said Lara Disney, principal at Palmer High School.

School security presents challenges. Borland acknowledged that he could take the necessary steps to ensure that his schools are as secure as possible, but that would make the school feel more like a jail than a learning environment.

Disney said Palmer High School is an open campus with four buildings stretching across three city blocks. Disney said security is tricky because students need to be safe while maintaining the unique atmosphere at Palmer High School.

Borland and his security team work with just less than 650 cameras to monitor the district's 35 schools. Borland has worked in the security field for 20 years. He said the shooting at Columbine changed school security forever.

Borland said with the right funding, this heightened security will most likely become the new normal.