ANDY Lavier, principal at Alamosa High, led the school’s response in September to the threat of an active shooter that turned out to be what the FBI called a “swatting incident,” where prank calls are placed intentionally to draw a law enforcement response.
Lavier, his staff at Alamosa High, and law enforcement who responded the afternoon of Sept. 19 had no way to know the call was a prank. Lavier only knew that there was a loud knock on the door from an Alamosa police officer who was responding to a threat of a gunman and then put into motion the school safety drills that are practiced.
“We didn’t know exactly what was going on, but we knew it was an emergency situation,” Lavier recounted on the new “Safety in Alamosa Schools” podcast created and distributed by the Alamosa School District.
Lavier was the first guest on the podcast hosted by Adriana Chapa, teacher at Ortega Middle School, and Luis Murillo, Alamosa School District assistant superintendent.
“We just quickly made a plan, communicated with police and then it was just one after another of police officers responding. They were going room-to-room-to-room. The first thing I realized was they need access to rooms, so I gave up my master key.”
“It’s been a tremendous learning experience, too. Just how fast the incident went down was a big takeaway for me and how quickly we had to communicate and put things in place,” Lavier said on the podcast.
The Safety in Alamosa Schools podcast is one of two new podcasts established by the school district to help it expand its communications and outreach to parents and families.
Alamosa Schools also launched a Spanish podcast called “Radio Educación” to assist families of students whose primary language remains Spanish to learn and feel more comfortable with the Alamosa educational system.
Creating new ways to communicate and pass along information to parents, families, students, and the school district staff itself is part of the Alamosa Schools Strategic Action Plan.
“In an effort to provide additional communication and outreach opportunities as described under Focus Area Three (Family Partnership), the Alamosa School District is producing two podcasts,” said Alamosa School District Superintendent Diana Jones.
She said the goal of the Radio Educación podcast, “is to provide information to Spanish-speaking families to assist them in understanding the system of education and how to advocate for their children.”
The second podcast, in English, “highlights the safety measures in place and the upgrades to our safety plan that have been implemented this year,” said Jones.
“The podcasts will continue throughout the year to add another layer of communication from and about the Alamosa School District,” she said. “We hope you enjoy listening.”
Alamosa Schools is working with Zepol Media Partners, LLC, on the recording of the podcasts. Zepol Media, headed by MaryAnne Talbott, is the sole owner of Alamosa Citizen.
Both podcasts can be found on the Alamosa School District website or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and other podcast-hosting platforms.