Durango schools look to avoid walkouts for safety purposes | KOB 4

Durango schools look to avoid walkouts for safety purposes

Meg Hilling
March 01, 2018 10:29 PM

DURANGO, Colo. -- High schools students throughout the country are planning on walking out of class on March 14 as a sign of support for the victims of the Florida school shooting. However, the Durango School District 9-R is working to avoid a walkout of its own.


"We are very concerned about opening up our students to any additional security concerns," Durango School District Chief Operating Officer, Andy Burns said.

The district is not bothered by the meaning behind the walkout, but rather how it is executed.

"We'd rather have it a supervised opportunity for students and ensure it is a safe learning opportunity for them," Burns said.

In recent weeks the school district has been working to figure out how exactly they could respond to the school walkouts. Some of the alternatives they have come up with include holding a school assembly to talk about school violence, holding 17 minutes of silence for the victims of the Florida shooting, as well as encouraging students to reach out to peers who feel as though they may have been ostracized in the past.

To clarify, students would not be punished for participating in the walkout that day, but they would need to exit the school through the proper channels. This means a guardian would have to sign them out through the school's main office.

"We do want to make sure students have an opportunity to reflect upon it, but it is done in a way that allows them to move forward and be proactive," Burns said.

School officials say they are awaiting the delivery of orange ribbons to pass out to students that day and hope the district as a whole can make the most of March 14.

"How can we use this opportunity to really come together as a community to make sure that we can be as proactive and thoughtful in trying to prevent something like this happening here," Burns said.


Meanwhile, a 15-year-old in Capitan l has been found guilty of a delinquent act for making a threat to other students.

According to 12th Judicial District Attorney John Sugg, the teen took photos of his classmates. When one asked why, Sugg said the teen claimed it was to make a "kill list."

The teen admitted the statement to school officials, Sugg said. Police could not find any such list. The teen said he deleted the photos, adding that he was being bullied in school.

"The interagency cooperation, in this case, was phenomenal," Sugg said. "The quick response from school officials and law enforcement ensured that all of the students were kept safe. That said, our current laws do not adequately address threats of mass shootings. Our legislators need to make these types of incidents one of their top priorities in the next legislative session."

~J.R. Oppenheim


Meg Hilling

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