Columbine tragedy: 20 years later

Englewood school district: 'There's always more we can do'

Englewood Schools has upped security with new buildings

Posted 4/15/19

At the time, everyone was on edge and trying to figure out how to keep kids safe after the Columbine shooting, said Mandy Braun, director of safety and security for Englewood Schools. “Back then, …

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Columbine tragedy: 20 years later

Englewood school district: 'There's always more we can do'

Englewood Schools has upped security with new buildings

Posted

At the time, everyone was on edge and trying to figure out how to keep kids safe after the Columbine shooting, said Mandy Braun, director of safety and security for Englewood Schools.

“Back then, we didn't have a lot of resources,” said Braun, who has been with the district since 1995. “We didn't have single access points to our buildings — things like that — so it was mainly doing a lot of drills, training kids and staff, and keeping an eye on inside and the perimeter.”

After the shooting April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School, the biggest policy change was recognizing a need to train staff on how to identify threats and potential threats, Braun said.

“We really didn't get any formal training — it was more or less taking a look at what happened” at Columbine, Braun said. “We had a lot of lockers, so we tried to keep an eye on kids as they came to the building.”

Braun was a teacher at the former Flood Middle School at South Broadway and Kenyon Avenue, eventually becoming principal there. A change in mindset was immediate in 1999, but formalized changes didn't come until recently, Braun said.

“As a school principal, I did everything I felt like I needed to do,” Braun said. “But when I came into (the safety director) position, we did a vulnerability assessment throughout the district. We've implemented quite a bit.”

Recent bond and mill levy funds helped that effort, Braun said, explaining that the district has been able to build secure new school buildings with single-entry access and video cameras. The district also upgraded cameras at Colorado's Finest High School of Choice and structured The Englewood Campus, which houses the district's two middle schools and Englewood High, to feature a single-entry access point — doors where staff must buzz individuals in and allow them through.

When crowds of students arrive in the morning, staff monitors the entrance, and students wear identification badges.

Englewood Schools now undergoes a vulnerability assessment each year so it can update or modify its emergency plans, said Braun, who has been security director for about three years.

On mental health resources, “there's always more we can do, and we always try to do what we can with the resources we have. But physically, we're right were we should be as far as the buildings,” Braun said.

She emphasized that safety is the top priority for the district.

“Prior to me taking this position, they didn't have anyone overseeing safety and security — it was really the job of the school principal, and their plates are full,” Braun said. “So it was nice they created this position so someone could oversee it and take over the work that was put on the principals for years.”

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