by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG– A break-in to the Huerfano County School District building at 5th and Russell on Friday night, Sept. 17 resulted in the loss of two laptop computers, one a privately owned laptop, the other owned by the school district. According to RE-1 superintendent Dawn Olson, neither computer stored sensitive student information. “There was no breach in district security. All student information is still safe,” Olson said.
The latest break-in is the fourth for the year. The first was prior to July and was quickly followed by another. Then two have occurred over the past month. In the first two, nothing was taken. “I am concerned over the past two break-ins because district property has been removed from the building,” Olson explained.
There are several tenants in the Washington School building: BOCES, the GED program, the alternative education program, the Huerfano County Historical Society’s Tirey Center and the offices of the Huerfano School District.
“We have stepped up our security awareness and we are keeping very vigilant,” said Olson. The building is checked throughout the day with special emphasis given to building conditions at the start and end of the day. The latest break-in happened on a Friday evening and was discovered Saturday morning.
Currently the district is analyzing the incident and putting together security measures that should help protect the building from further break-ins. For example, extra measures will be applied to the building after public meetings such as a Board of Education meeting when the building is open to the public.
The burglars have been gaining access through a second floor window on the alley behind the building. According to Walsenburg Police Chief James Chamberlain, it’s difficult to stop a determined burglar or thief. “I was amazed at how easy it was for me to break into my own house. Someone who really wants to get into a building generally finds a way to do so. We, as a community, have to keep our eyes open and watch out for the other guy.”
Olson concluded, “When we go through something like this, the community looks to the school district to make it safe. Well, the district is safe for both the students and staff.”