Why the Central High School Evacuation Was Necessary
The lockdown and evacuation of Central High School this morning (March 28) created a wave of frightening reports on social media. But, the real reason the school was evacuated wasn't due to those reports.
The action taken by local law enforcement, including the Mesa County Sheriff's Office started at 9:54 a.m. when the Regional Communications Center received a call from a male who claimed to be hiding in the school with weapons and was prepared to kill students and staff.
At that time, the school was put on lockdown and law enforcement agencies and the school district activated an evacuation and reunification plan that moved the school's students to Palisade High School.
Law enforcement, including the Grand Junction Police Department Bomb Squad, swept the school looking for suspects, weapons, and suspicious items. None were found.
The reports on social media that students had seen the suspect and said he barricaded himself inside the school were false. Other reports of students seeing explosive devices or weapons are also false.
Some have asked, was the evacuation really necessary? the answer is unequivocal, yes. There was a threat made against Central High School students and staff.
Even though it was proven false, the threat alone is cause for action to be taken. The evacuation was both prudent and necessary. Law enforcement made the safety of the students and staff their top priority and for that, we should be thankful.
As I followed what was happening at Central High School this morning and afternoon, I wasn't surprised, but rather in awe of how smoothly our local agencies work together in a crisis.
This is also a good lesson about believing what you see on social media. The rumors disseminated caused undue concern and stress on students, staff, parents, residents, and those who were working to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
The investigation into this incident is very active and ongoing which means the school will remain closed until tomorrow morning. The parking lot is open so students can retrieve their cars. Anything left inside the building will have to wait until tomorrow.