Proposed law would require armed guard at every Utah school

Nov 13, 2023, 4:13 PM | Updated: Feb 6, 2024, 4:41 pm

HB 61 addresses school safety...

Students engage among themselves during lunch break as a security guard stands at Granger High School's cafeteria in West Valley on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. An armed guard would be required at every single school building in the state among other safety measures under this new bill. (Shafkat Anowar/Deseret News)

(Shafkat Anowar/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — An armed guard would be required at every single school building in the state among other safety measures under a new bill lawmakers at Utah’s Capitol Hill are discussing.

H.B. 61 would require all Utah schools to have at least one armed security personnel on campus during school hours. The bill gives schools the option of four different positions to help fill in and serve as school security. 

One, a resource officer hired by the police department. Two, a resource officer hired by the school district, Granite School District already does something similar with its own police department. Three, a hired security guard. Or, the fourth option, a school guardian.

According to the bill, this guardian would already be a school employee but not a teacher or principal. They would have to have their concealed carry permit and would receive a $500 stipend to work as armed security.

Along with requiring security personnel, the bill would also require all new Utah school structures and reconstructions to meet minimum safety and security standards established by the State Security Chief.

These safety standards include a few things. First, each classroom must have a two-way intercom system and a panic button. Second, each school must have a video surveillance system. Third, schools must have limited secure entries. Fourth, windows on the ground floor and within the building should have special glass that is harder to break through. Schools should also have regular checks to ensure their security measures are up-to-date.

The School Security Task Force discussed the bill Monday and is likely to recommend it to the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee. The House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee will meet Wednesday.

Devin Oldroyd contributed to this story.

Related: Granite School District police debut first gun-sniffing K-9 team

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Proposed law would require armed guard at every Utah school