The Montezuma-Cortez Re-1 board on Tuesday focused on school safety after a weekend investigation into an alarming social media post.
“There were community members, specifically parents of some of our students that were concerned about an Instagram post their children had shown them,” Haukeness said.
The photo showed a girl with a weapon that turned out to be a BB gun, according to Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin. She was arrested Sunday on an unrelated charge of failing to appear in court on an assault charge.
There are conflicting reports of whether the post was on Snapchat or Instagram.
At the monthly board meeting on Tuesday, Haukeness said parents were notified of the incident via Facebook on Monday and via email on Tuesday morning.
She also discussed how the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, reinforced the need for safety.
“Student safety does not just start when students walk in the door and the moment they get on the buses,” she said. “The students are ours 24/7. If we lose students in Florida, quite frankly, we have lost students.”
District safety coordinator Jamie Haukeness updated the board on ongoing projects and improvements.
“The more I see with the team, the more we realize how much we still have to do,” he said.
He also told the board that all district secretaries will attend a safety workshop in March to help them decide who to “buzz in.”
Cortez Middle School counselor Carrie Schneider-LeMay, a member of the district safety team, updated the board about the work she and fellow counselors have done since December.
“We currently have a suicide risk assessment that is really laid out well,” Schneider-LeMay said. “We identify school staff members to complete the screening so it is a team approach.”
According to Schneider-LeMay, the three key pieces to the approach are prevention, introduction and emergency response.
She also told the board that district schools are collaborating with the Piñon Project on “Sources of Strength,” a suicide prevention model that is strength-based.
The board also hosted Noah Rainer, a student representative from Montezuma-Cortez High School.
According to Haukeness, the student will act as a liaison, as students have done in the past.
Rainer brought up concerns that students perceive at the ground level.
“One is a safety concern, not in the same way, but the parking lot is very hazardous at our school,” Rainer said. “It has been widely discussed in the school body.”
Rainer told stories of close calls in the parking lot and said the student body agreed that they’d be better off with angled parking spots.
Rainer also requested personalized parking spots, noting that local schools have them and it would increase school spirit. Students would pay to decorate their parking spot however they wanted.
Rainer was also concerned about students who have to make up tests and assignments during lunch, missing out on a meal, then trying to replace it with food from vending machines.
Rainer requested healthier options and said most of student body wanted more fruit.
Another problem was in-school Wi-Fi. According to Rainer, there is little access to communication at the high school.
“If there were an incident in the gym, they would have to run completely off campus to get a signal, there is very little ability to access Wi-Fi.”