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Photo by Brooke Gilmore.

The incident is described as a school lockdown, but the threat implied from the decision to go into lockdown on Monday, September 18 was not on campus. Ark Valley Voice has confirmed with Salida School District Board Secretary Kim LeTourneau that “there was no substantiated threat of any kind.”

But other unconfirmed sources have told AVV that there was a person with a weapon outside Salida High School.

The incident (however it is being defined or what it actually included) resulted in the Salida School District (SSD) being placed under added layers of security, at the request of the Salida Police Department. According to SSD, when the Police department responded to Salida High School, the department asked that it be moved to a lockdown status. Salida Middle School, Horizons Exploratory Academy, and Colorado Mountain College were also put into a lockdown status, while Longfellow Elementary School, Salida Early Childhood Center, and the Crest Academy all moved to a secure status.

Officially, the Salida School District says that it “will not be releasing any further details because of legal privacy protections for minors. The District appreciates the community’s understanding and patience as our local first responders worked to ensure safety in our school community. As always, school counselors are available for any students who need support.” 

What happened continues to be murky, at best. Without giving away the details of the incident, the school district says that “the Police Department worked to quickly assess the situation and were able to allow all schools to return to normal operations.”

So we don’t know if there was a gun loaded or unloaded, waved about or indicated in a pocket, used to threaten others, shown off or there for personal protection. That SHS went into lockdown status, not “lockout”, would seem to indicate that the weapon was outside the school building. We don’t know the person’s state of mind, or even if it was a student. We don’t know the school’s response when the situation first presented. We don’t know what the police department did other than lock the school down.

According to the Salida School District official press release, the School District and Police Department are “coordinating an after-action debriefing session in cooperation with other safety partners from the community to review the incident and identify any areas for improvement.”

LeTourneau confirmed that the Salida school campuses are not officially called “a gun-free zone,” but there are no guns allowed on campuses except for law enforcement.

The community is used to seeing messages for drills on the school district’s app, which are scheduled in advance and are able to be pushed out prior to or at the very start of an event. In the case of a real-time scenario, the district’s first priority is to make sure all schools are aware of any needed changes to levels of security, and it does this as quickly as possible.

The app will be used in situations that are still developing, but if the situation is resolved before an app message can be posted, only an email will be sent with as much information as is available and legal to share,” explains SSD Board Secretary Kim LeTourneau.

To learn more about the District’s safety practices, including details about our community partners, and the layers of safety outlined in the SRP or Standard Response Protocol, the SSD suggests that readers visit: