Category: Security

D-51 employee raises a red flag about the way D-51 conducts lockdown drills compared to other school districts

A highly experienced School District 51 employee who came here from the front range with over 20 years experience in conducting lockdown drills in other school districts is raising red flags about the way D-51 conducts its lockdown drills, and the trauma it is causing students. The employee describes a heartbreaking experience during a lockdown drill with a room full of kindergarteners during the 2023-2024 school year and the lasting  effects it had on students. The employee has brought the problem up with school counselors, the D-51 School Board and Tim Leon, Director of Safety and Security for District 51, and even proposed different ways to conduct these drills that are used in other school districts that don’t traumatize students the way D-51’s drills do, and offered research by the National Association of School Psychologists on how to mitigate the negative psychological effects that lockdown drills have on young kids, but the employee’s urgings have been ignored at every turn.

Out of frustration, the employee wrote an essay about the unannounced lockdown drill experience and what it is doing to young children in D-51, and sent it to AnneLandmanBlog in hopes of drawing public attention to it. I am publishing it here so everyone can see what is happening to kids inside D-51 schools during these drills, how they are negatively affecting the district’s youngest, most vulnerable students, and why D-51’s lockdown drill policy needs so badly to be changed.

The writer’s name is withheld to prevent identification of the students mentioned in the essay:


It’s a sad commentary on our society that schools have to have lockdown drills to prepare for a potential mass shooting. Since the Columbine massacre in 1999, Colorado public schools have been conducting these drills, and it’s up to each district how those drills are conducted.On the Front Range, where actual school shootings have happened, the common practice is to have announced drills which entail a low-key approach meant to minimize the traumatic effects of such a drill. There, students and school staff are notified that the drill would be taking place, allowing them to properly prepare their students for what to expect and why.Students with special needs and limited English proficiency have someone with them to help them understand what is happening and to cope with the situation. Students are allowed to use the bathroom in advance, and to grab a book or something else that can occupy them while they’re waiting.Classes are cleared quickly and students are able to resume learning activities within the classroom once they are cleared, while other classrooms may still be waiting, which maximizes normalcy.Once cleared, the security officers and police congratulate the students on a job well done and remind them this is just a drill. They keep it very positive and light.As a result, these students go into drills calmly and the after-effects are minimal for most students. 

Let’s compare that approach to how lock-down drills are conducted in District 51.Two lock-down drills are required each year, and they are unannounced.Students and staff have no idea whether or not it’s a real threat or not.Students are not prepared, and as a result, there is a lot of anxiety with both children and adults.This is especially problematic for kids who don’t understand English, students with autism or other special needs, and kids who come from violent homes and/or have PTSD from traumas.These students are not prepared in advance or given a support person to help them through it. Teachers and schools are given “extra credit” for having a weapon such as a baseball bat or chair ready to use to attack the intruder.Students go into a dark room and have to remain completely silent until their class is cleared. If they have to use the restroom, they are not allowed to leave. Instead, they must use a bucket in the presence of their peers, with only a plastic shower curtain for privacy. Students with limited English language comprehension, those with special needs, and those with other special circumstances are not given any preparation, and they often don’t understand what is happening, which is terrifying when one considers the effects of seeing a teacher holding a baseball bat ready to bash in the face of whoever opens the door.There may be the intention of clearing classrooms of younger students, but the execution of that is not coordinated in advance so the very youngest children, 3-4 year olds in preschool have been known to have to wait in that dark room silently for an hour or more. Often, the officers will try to gain access to a classroom using “tricks” to see if the teacher or students will open the door for them.Once cleared that class has to stay in their safe place until the whole school has been cleared, so learning cannot resume in any meaningful way.The result of this is that kids are not learning the most important thing to do in a crisis/emergency; to stay calm. 

Educators know that kids learn best when their brains are not in panic mode. When the amygdalae in our brains are activated, which happens when we are faced with possible danger, all our brain-power goes to surviving with the fight/flight/freeze/fawn mode. We are unable to think from our prefrontal cortex, which is where we are able to problem solve and learn new information.With that in mind, this type of lockdown drill is the exact opposite of what kids need, which is to remain calm and able to act quickly and possibly problem solve.Unlike fire drills, where kids have been taught to remain calm, quiet and to follow directions from their teachers, lockdown drills are filled with anxiety-provoking stimuli.Kids are learning nothing about how to react in a real situation.Students can leave this situation with fresh trauma, especially those who are already vulnerable.

I am an educator in the district. I am keeping my identity anonymous to protect the identities of my students.I had a class of kindergartners with me during the first lockdown drill of 2023-24 school year. It was unannounced so these 5 year-olds who had never experienced a drill before had no idea what was happening.I quickly brought them to my safe place, a small room in which the only light was from a computer monitor. I tried to whisper a story about being brave, tried to occupy them and keep them quiet, but their anxiety was through the roof. A student with autism started to cry, loudly.No matter what I tried, I could not console or distract him. This got the other kids crying, and it wasn’t long before every single child was crying, some very loudly. If this was a real situation, we would surely have been targets. We were not hidden due to the noise of these young babies who were terrified.This anxiety resulted in many of them having to use the bathroom.I couldn’t let them leave the safe room, so they had to take turns peeing in a bucket. Imagine me, trying to hold up a plastic shower curtain to give them some privacy, with 18 kids crying loudly, wondering if someone is going to come in a shoot us all to death. It was the number one most stressful time of my entire life, and I have experienced a lot of stressful events. It took about 40 minutes to clear my class.Afterward, when I tried to talk to them to debrief the situation, they all expressed fear and had so many questions about safety.For many kids, school is their only safe place, and now, school was no longer safe either.This is heartbreaking on so many levels, and is so wrong.We are needlessly traumatizing children. 

Toddlers practicing a lockdown drill (Photo: Daily Telegraph)

After this event on October 19, 2023, I contacted the head of safety and security, Tim Leon.I sent him an email explaining my experience and all the reasons above for my concern with how lockdown drills are conducted.I never got a response.So I contacted every district leader that should have cared, including the Chief Operating Officer, Superintendent, and finally the School Board. I didn’t receive a single response from any of them, with the exception of the Director of Social Emotional Learning (Amy Frazier), who had asked the COO to reach out to me. I did tell him my concerns, as outlined in this essay.He claimed unannounced lockdown drills were required by the State, to which I corrected him. He said he’d look into it and get back to me. I never heard another word from him.I reached out to the Counseling Coordinator and other school counselors for support. I heard nothing back from any of them.I have talked to other educators who share my concerns but didn’t have the experience I do of seeing how things are done differently in other districts.But now that they are aware, they are also asking for change. 

I have done everything in my power to keep my concerns internal, to give my employer the opportunity to do what is right, and I have been largely ignored.This is an issue I feel so strongly about, that I am bringing it now to the public, in hopes that you will help me in pressuring the School Board to adopt safety procedures that include announced lockdown drills and support for kids with special circumstances.If you agree with me that this cannot be ignored and changes are needed to protect our children and school staff, please email the School Board at .Thank you for reading this, for caring for the well-being of our children, and for your support and advocacy.

Yours truly,

A District 51 employee

Related resource:

Unannounced active shooter drills scaring students without making them safer, National Education Association, Feb. 25, 2020

The OTHER out-take everyone is talking about from the last Jan 6 Committee hearing

This clip begins with Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler telling the January 6 Committee about a phone call between Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and then-President Donald Trump, that she overheard during the attack on the Capitol January 6.

Rep. McCarthy, a staunch Trump supporter, was desperately trying to get Trump to call off the attack. But after the President refused to listen to McCarthy’s plea or take any action to stop the attack, McCarthy then tried contacting Ivanka Trump, and then Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, and others, asking them to get the president to call off the attack.

The footage the Committee shows before the out-takes of Trump in the Rose Garden was what was happening at the Capitol around the same time McCarthy was on the phone, trying to get Trump to help them.

Indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters attends event in Mar A Lago May 5

Tweet Tina Peters posted on May 5, 2022, about her trip to Mar a Lago, Florida

Indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who is out of jail on $25,000 bond, went to an event at Donald Trump’s estate in Florida on May 5.

As a term of her bond, she was ordered not to leave the state, and would have to have obtained approval from the court before making this trip. The only exception the Court granted to this requirement, made at the time Judge Matthew Barrett lowered her bond from $500,000 to $25,000, was for Peters to attend the funeral of her father, who died in North Carolina during the night she spent in the Mesa County Jail, according to Peters’ attorney. It is unclear whether Peters sought or received approval from the Court for this trip. UPDATE: Peters has now been granted permission by the Court to leave the state.

Former Delta County School District students pressure district to end racism in schools

Jordan Evans (L) and Marisa Edmondson (R) are graduates of Paonia High School and are pushing the Delta County School District to  actively work to end what they see as pervasive racism in Delta County Schools

Two alumni of the Delta County School District (DCSD) began an all-out effort last year to pressure the Delta County School District to address the pervasive racism and discrimination they and others say they have experienced in Delta County Schools. Edmondson says while they have made some progress, the School District and School Board have largely stonewalled them and resisted the change.

Car singled out for vandalism in Clifton Dollar Tree parking lot

A friend drove a car belonging to her now legally-blind housemate to Dollar Tree in Clifton, bringing her 90+ year old mother, who uses a walker, for a short shopping trip. It was late morning on Wednesday, March 31, and they parked in a handicapped spot in front of the store. They were in the store less than an hour, and when they came out, they found someone had vandalized their car with black spray paint.

No other cars in the parking lot were targeted.

Western Slope Republicans need to apologize and tell the truth

Republican House Rep. Lauren Boebert, CD-3, (Photo:Youtube) — advanced the Big Lie about massive election fraud that led to the insurrection.

Donald Trump repeatedly claimed in the months following the election that he had won the election by a landslide, but it was stolen from him due to massive voter fraud.

It was the most outlandish lie of Trump’s term, maybe the craziest of his life, and it led thousands of his supporters to violently attack the Capitol in an insane attempt to overturn the results of the election on his behalf. We all watched, horrified, as hordes of angry Trump supporters bashed their way through barriers and stormed the Capitol holding their Confederate and “Don’t Tread on Me” yellow Gadsden flags, intent on capturing and killing legislators, journalists and anyone with a political opinion different from their own. The insurrection, based on lies, caused the death of five people, including a police officer.

68 Elected officials in Colorado House District 3 sign letter to House leadership condemning Boebert’s actions

CD3 House Rep. Lauren Boebert is under scrutiny for her association with right wing groups that supported the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021

68 elected officials from cities and counties across Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District have sent a letter (pdf) January 12 to House leaders condemning CD-3 Rep. Lauren Boebert and asking them to open an investigation into Boebert’s actions leading up to, and on the day of the insurrectionist attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters on January 6.

The letter was sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and was signed by elected officials from the counties of Routt, Pueblo, Eagle, Lake, Gunnison, Pitkin, Saguache, Ouray, La Plata, Hinsdale, San Miguel, and San Juan and from the cities of Durango, Bayfield, Crested Butte, Gunnison, Eagle, Lake City, Ophir, Mountain Village, Leadville, Ridgway, Telluride, Glenwood Springs, Avon and Aspen.

Commissioners publicly urge Mesa County residents to wear masks

The unchecked community spread of Coronavirus, high number of hospitalizations and rising deaths from Covid-19 in the county has led the Mesa County Commissioners to finally issue a press release Nov. 13 urging all Mesa County residents to wear masks whenever they patronize local businesses, avoid close contact with others and avoid indoor gatherings. The release is headlined “Commissioners encourage community members to wear a mask.”

The Commissioners are now putting their support behind an all-out effort to raise awareness of the public health emergency the virus is causing in our community, get people to take the situation seriously, keep local businesses afloat and help our area avoid more mandatory closures.

Mesa County Commissioners John Justman, Rose Pugliese and Scott McInnis all urge Mesa County residents to wear masks at all times when patronizing local businesses.

Here is the Commissioners’ statement:

National Park ranger shoots, kills unarmed young Fruita man in Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Gage Lorentz, 26, was killed by National Park Ranger Robert Mitchell during a traffic stop for speeding on a dirt road in Carlsbad Caverns National Park March 21. Gage was unarmed and had no alcohol or drugs in his system at the time he was fatally shot. The family is calling for the arrest and prosecution of the park ranger who murdered him.

Police murdering unarmed citizens in cold blood doesn’t just happen to people from other places.

A National Park Ranger murdered a young Fruita man last March in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, as he was headed home to Fruita from Texas.

The murder was covered locally in March, but has taken on renewed significance after George Floyd’s brutal murder in Minneapolis shined a spotlight on the unchecked police brutality going on all across the nation.

Gage Lorentz was unarmed and had no drugs or alcohol in his system when he was pulled over for going too fast on a dirt road.

G.J. City Councilor Pe’a stuns with statement that he thought to bring a loaded Glock to a public meeting

In this video clip taken at a recent City Council meeting, Grand Junction City Councilor Phil Pe’a complains that he wasn’t given enough notice that there might be protesters at a public meeting. He said he was alarmed when he got to City Hall and saw a police presence along with protesters. When City Councilor Anna Stout told Mr. Pe’a that City Manager Greg Caton had emailed all Council members to let them know protesters were expected at that evening’s meeting, Mr. Pe’a said “I have a full time job. I don’t have time to visit my email constantly.” He said he would have preferred a phone call, and continued, saying

“I didn’t know whether I had to bring my Glock into the meeting or not. That’s how serious it was, Anna.” 

NEJM video shows how wearing a face mask reduces the spread of Corona virus

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published a video showing how face masks reduce the spread of airborne droplets  emitted when people speak and shout, giving a graphic representation of how mask-wearing works to reduce the spread of Corona virus, the novel deadly virus that currently no prevention, no treatment and no cure.

In the video, “Visualizing Speech Generated Oral Fluid Droplets with Laser Light Scattering,” a person in a darkened room says the phrase “Stay healthy” repeatedly in varying volumes while neon lasers light up the droplets coming from his mouth.

After watching this video, imagine standing without a face mask and speaking while you look over the produce in the grocery store, or order food from a menu, for example. This video shows how droplets fly from people’s mouths when they speak, and shows how people spread the virus to others.

Gov. Polis issues order allowing businesses to deny service to people without masks

Home Style Bakery is taking advantage of the Governor’s executive order and banning people from their store who are not wearing masks to protect against the spread of the deadly Corona virus.

On June 4, Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order allowing Colorado businesses to deny service to anyone not wearing a face mask to protect against transmission of Corona virus. The order is aimed at reducing the unchecked spread of the deadly virus, which has no prevention, no known treatment and no known cure.

The order gives

…”discretion to employers and operators of places of public accommodation, and those authorized on their behalf, to deny admittance or service and require the removal of any individual who fails to wear a medical or non-medical face covering.”

The state has been struggling to re-open its economy while keeping the  virus in check. If the number of cases in the state increases, it could force the state into another “lockdown,” or forced closure of businesses like we experienced for the first month of the pandemic.

Republicans’ lies are turning deadly

House Rep. Scott Tipton, State Senator Ray Scott and Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese all were recently outed in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel for spreading false information on social media that was put out by Colorado Counties, Inc.

The false story went like this: Governor Jared Polis was intentionally withholding federal funds intended for local governments under the Coronavirus relief bill approved by Congress last month, and he was going to use those badly-needed funds to balance the state’s budget instead, forsaking people in rural Colorado who desperately needed the funds.

They didn’t read the bill

In truth, the bill Congress approved designated relief funds only to state and local governments that serve populations of over 500,000 people.

The CARES Act states:

“A unit of local government eligible for receipt of direct payment includes a county, municipality, town, township, village, parish, borough, or other unit of general government below the State level with a population that exceeds 500,000.”

“Exceeds 500,000” means eligible units of government must serve a population OVER 500,000.

Mesa County commissioners woefully silent during this pandemic

Op-ed by Kathryn Bedell, candidate for Mesa County Commissioner, District 1 – from the 4/21/20 Daily Sentinel (Please support our local paper)

Kathryn Bedell, DVM, veterinarian and Fruita rancher running for county commissioner in District 1 (Fruita/Loma/Mack and west end of the valley)

As a Western Slope appointee to the State of Colorado Agriculture Commission, I continue to address issues related to our local farm economy and food security. As I was isolating at home, reaching out to fellow farms and ranchers to see what they are thinking and what kind of help they might need, it occurred to me I haven’t heard a peep from our Mesa County commissioners.

I searched for recent comments from them and only found one advocating against a national popular vote, which has absolutely nothing to do with the current state of the county. I looked on the county’s Facebook page and saw nothing from our commissioners but noticed that Mesa County Public Health is keeping the county informed. I looked at the county website and the last update was 19 days ago and that was a link to Mesa County Public Health and Human Services.

Commissioner candidate Rowland continues to undermine public health efforts to contain Coronavirus

Janet Rowland, a repeat candidate for Mesa County Commissioner in District 3 (the east side of the valley), continues to misunderstand how epidemiology works, and as a result is continuing to buck public health authorities’ desperate efforts to reduce the spread of the deadly Coronavirus in Mesa County.

Rowland has been agitating against the ongoing physical distancing measures and temporary shutdown of non-essential businesses that is the only tool available to check the spread of the new and highly communicable virus.

Today Rowland changed the profile picture on one of her Facebook pages to the following:

County Commissioner Candidate Janet Rowland endangers public health with misleading, Q-Anon-linked posts on social media

Rowland posted this article from a media outlet based in Luxembourg to support her view that there is no significant risk of catching Coronavirus from grocery shopping. The findings of the German doctor cited in this article have not been published in any peer-reviewed journal. Meanwhile, least 30 grocery workers in the U.S. have died from Coronavirus so far. 3,000 more are out sick with coronavirus symptoms.

Mesa County Commissioner candidate Janet Rowland (R) has been posting misleading information about Coronavirus on her campaign Facebook page that is linked to the nutty beliefs of the conspiracy theory QAnon, and that contradict the messaging of public health authorities telling people what they need to do to stay safe and minimize spread of the deadly Coronavirus.