Owner security

Many Utah schools don’t have enough security

(ABC4) – Many Utah elementary schools are old enough that key card access, security cameras, or self-locking doors aren’t built in. The cost of implementing these security designs and measures could prove costly and expedient.

New schools built within the last ten years usually have double door access where any visitor must ring the doorbell to alert reception and receive permission to enter during school hours.

The Utah State Board of Education School Safety Center (SSC) was only recently established in 2019. The SSC works to strengthen school safety by providing technical assistance, resources, training, and equipment.

After 17 people were killed in 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, Republican lawmaker Ray Ward called for a $100 million investment to make Utah schools safer. The bill passed with only $1 million pledged.

There is no state law on how many or how many access points a school should have. Schools are not required to have security measures such as cameras, doorbells or locking all doors.

Every school in Utah, however, must have a school safety and emergency plan in place for natural disasters, accidents, active shooters, or bomb threat situations.

Schools are also required to have drills for fires, earthquakes and shutdowns.

However, improvement is underway. Five schools in Utah received grants through the Student Safety Center to help fund safety upgrades. The following schools have received grants of up to $31,000.

  • Frontier Middle School in the Alpine School District
  • Mountain Crest High in the Cache County School District,
  • Union Middle in the Canyons School District,
  • Northridge High in the Davis School District
  • North Sanpete High in the North Sanpete School District.

Additionally, the school districts of Provo, Nebo, and Ogden received a Department of Justice Office Security Grant in 2020.

While it may be years before we see every school in Utah adequately redesigned for total security, students can use the SafeUT app to report threats to their schools.