District 51 schedules next coffee with board

District 51 School Board members will host a second “coffee with the board” event at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the back conference room at the University Center at Colorado Mesa University, 1455 N. 12th St.

The board hosted its first coffee gathering Jan. 25 at Main Street Bagels. More than 50 people attended the event at various times. Most of those in attendance are teachers and school personnel, as well as board members Greg Mikolai, Tom Parrish and Ann Tisue. Topics included standardized assessments, classroom sizes, student discipline, standards-based grading and teacher evaluations.

There are no agendas for the meetings, and topics are decided as they are brought up by audience members.

Although educators were the primary audience at the first meeting, board members stressed anyone in the community is invited to attend.

Board members who attended that first meeting said they benefitted from having an open forum with community members and plan to have the events approximately once a month.

Coffee and food are not provided for the meeting but they can be purchased at the restaurant and brought into the meeting.

Following up on a commitment by Mesa County commissioners to make Mesa County’s workplace safer against potential violent attacks, county workers engaged in training Tuesday.

Presenter John Nicoletti, who has advised law enforcement agencies and victims of attacks across the U.S., gave county workers some key ideas to keep in mind.

Nicoletti advised workers to communicate with each other and other departments if someone is acting suspiciously; to have protocols in place to deal with violent incidents; increase deterrents to fend off a potential attack; and to develop countermeasures, which may mean increasing security.

“Don’t make the mistake of thinking only people you have to worry about are people who work here,” Nicoletti said. “It could be an ex-employee, an ex-spouse.”

Nicoletti said there’s no explanation to why Colorado seems to have experienced more than its share of violent attacks, mostly on schools in the recent years.

In fact, violent attacks seemingly are occurring across the nation at least every couple of weeks. Attackers hail from all walks of life and their reasons for attacking others are varied. Sometimes, authorities cannot determine a motive.

Shooters with mental illness lately have been in the spotlight, but Nicoletti warned county workers not to focus solely on that aspect.

“Just because someone is having an emotional problem doesn’t mean they will be an attacker,” Nicoletti said.

Mesa County Administrator Tom Fisher said he was impressed by Nicoletti’s presentation.

“This is something that we need to be concerned about,” Fisher said.


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