DENVER — For some parents, the STEM School shooting has really changed the way they think about cellphones in school and their child’s safety. Some schools allow students to carry phones, while others do not. In the Douglas County School District, it is a school-based decision, not a district decision.
The day of the shooting, some of the STEM students ran from the school to the office building next door seeking help. Jill Krusoe was working.
“The trauma that they saw, you could see it in their eyes,” Krusoe said.
Krusoe saw students frantically trying to call their parents.
“What was harder was the parents who had rushed to the school and did not know if their child was a survivor or a victim,” she said.
Krusoe says at that point, she realized she wants her teenage son to carry his cellphone at his middle school in case something similar happens. But his Douglas County school, like plenty of others, does not allow students to carry phones during the day.
That is a policy Krusoe supported, until last week.
“I’ve changed my mind, and it’s more for selfish reasons. It’s more for me to know if my child is safe,” she said.
But the issue is complicated, as phones are a common distraction in class. They can also be used to bully or to cheat.
Also, if there is an emergency at school, experts say phones can help, but it’s also possible they can hurt.
“They can be helpful so they can contact 911, but your first thing should be to escape,” said Chris Love, a self defense and security expert with Level 5 Combat Systems.
Love says during too many emergencies, people are looking at their phones instead of looking for a way to escape.
“Messing around on your phone trying to contact someone, you’re now focusing on your device instead of, ‘What exits do I have? What can I do to make this stop, or for me to get out?'” Love said.
Love says students should run, hide or fight, then they can use their phones to communicate once they are safe.
Krusoe hopes it never comes to that.
“We have to do something to protect our children,” she said.