Who creates protocols for school threats?

Local News

UTAH (ABC4) – In 2019, the Utah Legislature passed the Student and School Safety Assessment Bill, which created the Utah State Board of Education School Safety Center. This center has evidence-based guidance for schools, but that doesn’t mean they have to follow it.

The Utah State Board of Education Safety Center says they provide evidence-based guidance, referencing a report that 99 percent of school threats are not carried out. 

“We don’t need to have an overreaction or under reaction to threats, we need to determine what is the best process to implement to keep students safe,” said Student and School Safety Specialist with Utah State Board of Education School Safety Center, Rhett Larsen.

The center does provide a model it believes is the gold standard for threat assessment. 

It has seven steps including, evaluation of threat, determining credibility, severity, and if necessary, implementing a safety plan. In most situations, it states the school should at least consider speaking with police. However, it’s not up to this department, the Local Education Agency, or LEA makes the final call. 

Each agency has its own plan developed for the districts within its boundaries. 

“There might be different resources.There might be more situations that arise in certain circumstances in some areas and not others,” said Larsen. 

While the state board of education does have conditions they set for the LEAs including things like security, training, mitigation, and supporting school culture… it’s up to each LEA whether to incorporate it. 

“One thing that we have to remember is local control is important to our state. Parental rights are important to our state. We have to leave the decisions to those folks that know that their communities and to give guidance from the state and offer a roadmap to follow and assure that LEA’s are staying within those lines, but certainly to make that decision ultimately, to be made by those locals,” said School Safety Data Analyst with Utah State Board of Education School Safety Center, David Christensen. 

While Larsen said he understands why families worry, he has faith in the local leadership. 

“And so again, I am confident that our district leaders and charter leaders or charter or LEA leaders are doing the best they can to ensure the safety of students,” said Larson. 

As for parents who have concerns with how their child’s school handles threats, Christensen says they have options. 

“Certainly, we want to encourage engagement at the local level first, and on up through your councilman and women and through your local school board officials, but then, certainly to your legislature and I think that there’s a process for that,” said Christensen.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Utah Coronavirus

More Coronavirus Updates


More In Focus

Justice Files

More Justice Files

Trending Stories