Durango School District Gets $1.1 Million School Safety Grant

Durango School District Gets $1.1 Million School Safety Grant

Durango School District 9-R has received a $1.1 million grant from the Colorado Division of Homeland Security to boost school security and safety.

Durango School District 9-R has received a $1.1 million grant from the Colorado Division of Homeland Security to boost school security and safety. The district has been increasing safety and security at its schools for years and plans to use the grant to build upon existing staff training and security projects at district buildings.

The grant comes from Colorado’s School Security Disbursement program, which provides funds to improve security in public school facilities and to support training for school staff. The Division of Homeland Security awarded $29 million in grants to school districts statewide.

To qualify for the grant, Colorado required districts to already have secured buildings, a strong relationship with local law enforcement, a school district safety task force team, and trained staff, students and security staff.

“Training is a key element to school safety. We will be offering training to staff, families and students around safety and security with the intent to build resilience, inform and raise up awareness to personal safety and how to be prepared,” said Kathy Morris, coordinator of safety and security for 9-R. “Keeping schools safe takes the whole community, it is where our strengths are in our relationships.”

9-R will have two years to use the grant funds. The district will focus its efforts on building secure vestibules at all schools, applying ballistic film on all interior classroom corridor doors with windows, upgrading the district’s bus radio system from analog to digital and augmenting trainings for staff, students and families.

“Whatever systems we build need to be sustainable,” Superintendent Dan Snowberger said. “Our intention is to move the needle in preparedness and recovery.”

The vestibules at Animas Valley and Needham elementary schools will be redesigned and rebuilt this summer using the funding.

“We’ve been working with the school principals and the school accountability committees on the design and the work, and we’ve engaged law enforcement and the fire department in the design,” Morris said.

Durango School District 9-R has already added more ballistic film to interior classroom doors and windows, according to Morris. The ballistic film prevents glass from shattering if hit by a bullet.

Morris said the conversion of bus radios from an analog system to a digital system will also be finished before the next school year.

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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    September/October 2019

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