SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – Granite School District officials sent out 36,000 e-mails to parents Thursday morning In response to the Florida school shooting.
According to ABC News, we’ve already seen more than a dozen school shootings less than two months into the year. However, district officials want parents to know that safety is their top priority.
“School is still…statistically speaking, the safest place a student can be, even moreso than the home,” said Ben Horsley, spokesperson for Granite School District.
Officials sent out a link to their safety protocols (https://www.graniteschools.org/blog/2016/08/16/granite-school-district-will-begin-using-these-security-terms/) in their e-mail.
They said, “Beyond these protocols, we work closely with Granite Police and other law enforcement agencies to evaluate and make any necessary adjustments to security measures. The district continues to move forward with installing main entry security doors at every one of our elementary schools. We are also exploring potential measures for the open campus layouts of junior high schools and high schools.”
They also have a police force that provides full time security and law enforcement to all of their campuses.
“Granite is very fortunate to have its own police force. That 16-member police force alone allows us in almost every secondary school to have a full-time police officer and with respect to our elementary schools, have rotating officers so they can randomly be at those locations,” said Horsley. “We feel confident that having a police officer in the school itself with that police car sitting out front is a great detriment to an active shooter situation.”
When asked why they don’t use metal detectors in their schools, Horsley said, “The reality is those are not necessarily effective. We’re looking at making our schools wholesome learning environments, not prison.”
He said they also heavily rely on the Safe UT app, which allows users to anonymously report bullying, violence, harassment, threats, concerns about a friend, or anything else that makes them feel uncomfortable.
“I would point out that in almost every school shooting situation, somebody knew about it in advance or there were warning signs that they could’ve notified someone about,” said Horsley. “We have 68,000 students in Granite School District. The most effective method we have found at keeping kids safe is the eyes and ears of those students. So when they see unsafe behavior, report it.”
Granite School District has a 24/7 District Safety Hotline where students can call 801-481-7199 or text 801-664-2929 to anonymously report unsafe behavior or to talk to a crisis counselor.