Back to School Safety

Mesa County Valley School District 51 and Local Law Enforcement Agencies Join Forces to Enhance Safety for Students During Back-to-School Season
Posted on 08/11/2023

Grand Junction, CO - As the new school year begins, Mesa County Valley School District 51, Grand Junction Police Department, Fruita Police Department, Palisade Police Department, and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office continues their collaborative effort to ensure the safety and security of students and staff both on and around school premises. This joint effort reflects the continued commitment of these organizations to provide a safe and conducive learning environment for all students, especially as students navigate the first few weeks of school.

The partnership between our local law enforcement agencies and District 51 marks a significant step forward in fostering a sense of security within the community and aims to bolster safety measures, ease parental concerns, and set a positive tone for the entire academic year.

With schools across the Grand Valley, our local law enforcement agencies have made it a priority to provide an increased presence throughout the district during the first few weeks of school. 

"The safety of our students is our utmost priority, and our Safety teams work hard to create safe and secure learning environments for our students,” said Tim Leon, D51 Safety and Security Director. “We are thankful for the dedicated support of all our local law enforcement agencies in ensuring the well-being of our school community."

As our community continues to adjust to schools being back in session, officers will actively engage with students, families, and school staff, fostering positive relationships and open lines of communication, aiming to promote trust and address safety-related issues. 

All five agencies will work closely with school officials to manage traffic flow and pedestrian safety around school premises. This will contribute to reducing congestion and enhancing overall safety during drop-off and pick-up times.

As a reminder to families, students, and community drivers, please be mindful of the following key factors:

  • Slow down. School zone speed limits are 20 mph, and we want to ensure all drivers remain vigilant about their speed and surroundings.

  • Put away the distractions. Regardless of whether the school is in session, distracted driving is dangerous driving. Please put away any distractions and keep your eyes on the road. Be mindful of the littles when passing through Elementary School zones, who are more likely to dart across the road without warning.

  • School bus safety. When a school bus stops to pick up or drop off students, it's more than just a pause in traffic – it's a vital moment to exercise caution and vigilance. Remember, it's the law to stop when a school bus flashes red lights, and its stop arm extends.

  • Crossing guards. The majority of schools throughout the district have assigned crossing guards or staff members responsible for assisting during student drop-off and pick-up times. It's important to adhere to their instructions while navigating through school zones.

Sergeant Stan Ancell of the Grand Junction Police Department emphasized the value of community collaboration, stating, "The Grand Junction Police Department is dedicated to the continued collaboration with the school district and the Mesa County Sheriff's Office in making this community safer by building positive relationships with students and providing support to the school community."

Marco Montez, Sergeant over the School Resource Unit with the Mesa County Sheriff's Office echoed the sentiment, saying, "The safety of our schools is a collective responsibility. Through this collaboration, we are able to foster a safe and secure environment for all students to learn and grow."

Keeping our students safe is a collaborative, community effort, and we encourage everyone to take an active role in ensuring our students are safe while traveling to and from school.