Canyon School District making safety a top priority for the new year

Aug 12, 2022, 12:55 PM

Brighton High school pictured.. Utah school safety has changed since Uvalde....

Brighton High School in Cottonwood Heights is pictured on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The school shooting in Uvalde, Texas prompted some Utah schools to reevaluate their safety practices and policies.

Over the summer, Canyons School District’s Emergency Management Team (EMT) conducted an internal audit of all the safety and security protocols of schools within the district. Officials said this review was intended to enhance security and to ensure that protocols are being followed. 

And as the beginning of the school year got closer, the Canyons School District assessed its incident command manual. The district asked for updates and input from school principals on how to better format that guide for emergency use. 

Locked doors, checking in, and what to do in an emergency

This year, all visitors to Canyons schools must be approved through the front office, according to spokesman Jeff Haney, who also addressed the issue of locked doors.

“All external doors of schools are locked and can only be accessed by an electronic keycard,” Haney said. 

Additionally, Haney said the schools have reviewed the processes involved in reporting an emergency while the emergency is taking place. And they’ve reviewed the training of school resource officers.

As a result, the district is co-funding 15 school resource officers who are dedicated to the safety and security of the schools.  

Ideally, the school would see law enforcement training on their campuses. “We have even facilitated two of those active shooter trainings at our schools,” said Haney. “We want the officers to know the layout of our schools so they know the hallways, the lights, the doorways and possible hiding spaces.”  

Through monthly safety drills being conducted, Haney said emergencies will become “muscle memory.”

Another security focus for the district is assuring that every adult in the building wears security badges and that every guest goes through security check-ins. 

Utah lawmakers have asked all Utah School Community Councils, through HB213, to “engage” with school administrators in addressing school safety and digital citizenship. Canyons School District has six different safety guides that align with most Utah school districts. 

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Canyon School District making safety a top priority for the new year