Board OKs guns for principal, superintendent in Dove Creek

DOVE CREEK – The seven-member board that oversees schools in Dolores County voted to allow the Dove Creek High School principal and district superintendent to carry firearms onto school grounds.

School District Re-2J includes Rico, but administrative offices and almost all the students are in Dove Creek. Together, the sparsely populated county has only 260 students.

The board voted unanimously at a Wednesday night meeting in Dove Creek to let the two administrators function, in effect, as security officers provided they complete a concealed-carry weapons course, receive a permit from the Dolores County Sheriff’s Office and satisfy additional training qualifications.

The handgun course was completed in two sessions, with the final session conducted Sunday by Howard Miller, an instructor with Centurion Firearms Training in Dove Creek.

Superintendent Bruce Hankins wasn’t sure of the logistics of further requirements but said it might involve the Dolores County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado State Patrol.

Hankins and Principal Ty Gray won’t receive a pay raise for taking on the extra responsibility, but because a monetary contract is required by law, their “salaries” for the security positions are one dollar each.

“What we’re trying to do is driven by budget. We don’t have the funds to hire a (school resource officer),” Hankins said Friday.

Deliberations about school security in Re-2J had been ongoing well before the Dec. 15 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn, Hankins said.

“We’ve engaged in these discussions for months,” he said. “We won’t live our lives in fear (of an attack), but we realize the world we live in today and need to do everything in our power to keep kids safe.

“It definitely was not a random, un-thought out decision,” he said.