Top of Utah school districts reassess safety policies after Newtown massacre
ROY, Jan 15, 2013 (Standard-Examiner - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
On Monday morning, every Roy High School student and staff member was required to wear a school I.D. card on a lanyard rather than hidden in a pocket or purse.
Other schools in Weber School District have had the lanyard policy in place for some time, but the timing of Roy High's newly enforced policy traces directly back to last month's shooting by an armed intruder at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
"We've had the policy in place for three years, but we haven't hit it hard. But about three weeks ago, after Sandy Hook, we started talking to our student body officers and our staff," said Roy High School Principal Gina Butters.
"It's mainly to set a tone of orderliness and safety, and to give students a chance to be responsible. But it also makes it much easier to identify who belongs there and who doesn't."
The Weber and Ogden school districts are among those taking a fresh look at their emergency policies to see if improvements are possible. The Davis School District spokesman did not immediately return a call for information.
Weber School District has formed policy committees to be attended by select administrators and local law enforcement officials, said Nate Taggart, district spokesman.
"It's a natural reaction to an event like this (the Newtown shooting) to want to take a look at what we can do better."
The law enforcement officials involved are from the Weber County Sheriff's Office and police departments from South Ogden, North Ogden, Roy, Harrisville, Pleasant View and Riverdale, Taggart said.
The four areas with an assigned committee are video surveillance, building security, school resource officers (in-school police officers) and prevention. Some committees will research their topics and be done, Taggart said. Other committees are likely to work on assigned topics over the long term.
Ogden School District is talking about changes as well.
"I think every school administrator nationwide reviewed their safety plan after that incident, and Ogden is doing the same thing," said Donna Corby, district spokeswoman.
Corby said she has a meeting scheduled that she hopes will be attended by a parent representative from each school in her district. The group will talk about procedures in place, she said.
Each Ogden district classroom has a flip chart on how to manage emergencies, she said. What those procedures are is a secret, because making them public would allow a potential perpetrator to anticipate and work around safety measures.
Corby said the district is also working on updating the flip books. A year ago, a strong windstorm created an emergency, and last week, a bobcat on the border between two schools caused concern about whether and how to release kindergartners.
The flip books offer no advice on giant windstorms or bobcats, Corby said; however, there is a page on armed intruders, she revealed.
Corby said she has a meeting scheduled with the Ogden city official in charge of emergency first response. She also has a table talk scheduled with Ogden Police Lt. Danielle Croyle and the Ogden police resource officers stationed within Ogden's high schools and junior highs.
Corby said there has been some conversation about seeking parents to volunteer at each elementary school, to be unarmed but vigilant of potential intruders.
"We are interested to see what the state Legislature will say, and if anyone has come up with a state safety bill for the schools."
___ (c)2013 Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah) Visit the Standard-Examiner (Ogden,
Utah) at www.standard.net Distributed by MCT Information Services
[ Back To SIP Phones Homepage's Homepage ]