We work hard as a District to prepare for and prevent emergency situations, and we’re encouraged by statistics
that show schools are still among the safest places for children. Following is a list of some of the steps Canyons District has taken, and will continue to take, to maintain healthy, safe learning environments for children. In order for our safety plans to be effective, some details must be kept confidential. But here is an overview:
- In coordination with local law enforcement agencies last year, Canyons District updated its crisis response plan. The plan includes an active shooter/intruder training module for school staff along with detailed protocols for communicating with parents and community leaders in the event of an emergency.
- All of our schools practice lockdown and shelter-in-place drills throughout the year, in addition to preparing for a host of other threats, from fires and earthquakes to hazardous materials. Elementary students participate in these drills at least once a month. Secondary schools hold quarterly drills.
- There is an armed police officer assigned to every school. These School Resource Officers are sworn law enforcement personnel whose salaries are co-funded by the District. They serve and protect our schools while also mitigating criminal behavior by building trusting relationships with students so they can feel comfortable reporting suspicious activity.
- Trained counselors are assigned to every school to support faculty and staff in reinforcing positive behavior. Canyons has adopted the MTSS behavioral intervention framework, which focuses on the whole child by supporting academic growth as well as students’ behavioral, social and emotional needs.
- One of the most powerful ways to combat violence is by reporting it advance, and our schools have a high-tech tool at their disposal to facilitate that. Canyons District was the first in Utah to adopt the SafeUT mobile app, which allows students and parents to post anonymous tips about unsafe activities or situations. The app, which also is a tool for students to confidentially seek help for emotional crises, suicidal threats or addiction problems, is monitored 24 hours a day and seven days a week by school administrators and counselors at the University of Utah. Every threat or referral is immediately acted upon.
- We are installing security vestibules at all of our schools, which force visitors to be buzzed-into the Main Office where they must check-in before entering the school.
- Proceeds from two voter-approved, general obligation bonds have allowed us to rebuild schools with safety in mind. We build schools with seismic controls, state-of-the-art surveillance systems and automatic locks that require employees to have an ID badge to gain entry. We strive to locate schools out of visibility of main roads and landscapes so that playgrounds are shielded and people can’t easily see inside the school, while employees working inside have a clear line of sight down the halls, and to the parking lot and front entrance. We also strategically locate entryways and exits.
- The District has formed an Emergency Management Committee comprised of Board of Education members, school and district-level administrators and risk management professionals. This committee meets at least quarterly to debrief after emergencies and to review and refine the crisis response plan.