Lawmakers Continue To Implement Recommendations From Safe Schools Task Force

Nov 14, 2019, 10:31 PM | Updated: 10:37 pm
Emergency vehicles are parked outside Saugus High School in Santa Clarita on Thursday morning. (KCA...
Emergency vehicles are parked outside Saugus High School in Santa Clarita on Thursday morning. (KCAL/KCBS)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — As news of another school shooting spread Thursday, state lawmakers said they remain committed to improving school safety in Utah and implementing recommendations from a task force set up following the shooting at Florida’s Parkland High School 18 months ago.

“How do you ever know if it’s enough, right? That’s not easy to judge,” said Rep. Raymond Ward, R-Bountiful, who has sponsored safe schools legislation in the past.

Among the top recommendations in the commission’s report was making well-trained mental health teams quickly available for students at high risk.

State officials responded last summer with funding for more mental health counselors in schools while the state legislature dedicated $30 million specifically towards grants for schools to hire school safety personnel such as counselors, psychologists, or resource officers in its last session.

Ward also sponsored a bill last session that established a new school safety center within the State Office of Education. It included experts in mental health, law enforcement and data analysis that will work with schools on safety improvements.

“I think that we are trying very hard to make schools safer,” said Ward. “I feel confident those are good steps, and that they will make a good improvement. I would never want to say that’s enough, we don’t need to do anything else.”

Rep. Steve Handy, R-Layton, agreed.

“See something, say something. We’ve all got to be on top of this,” he said.

The commission recommended a gun violence restraining order, similar to the “red flag” bill Handy has unsuccessfully sponsored twice. Family members or law enforcement could petition a judge to temporarily take the firearms of an individual threatening to harm himself or others.

“You say firearms removed, and a lot of people get their hackles up,” said Handy. “I’m a gun owner. I’m Second Amendment adherent. But, there has to be something under the law that’s constitutionally protected that would allow a temporary removal.”

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have such laws.

Thursday’s shooting in Santa Clarita, California, left two dead and Handy said early intervention should be key in the future.

“Something tipped him over the edge,” Handy said. “If we could have intervened possibly, earlier, removed that lethal aspect that he has used, perhaps this could have been averted.”

He said the bill, which is properly called an extreme risk protective order, would be a tool in the toolbox that law-enforcement has endorsed, but lawmakers have denied. He said he’ll sponsor that bill again, hoping to have a good public policy discussion that will lead to a “red flag” law that Utah can support.

“People are kind of so-so about it,” he said. “But, the polls seem to show that the public sentiment is shifting, and when these shootings happen, people say we’ve got to do something.”

That commission report also recommended an emergency alert app, which we now know as the SafeUT app, which has been a tremendous tool.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Zachary Crane and Gabriella Arnold, two students who had their tests destroyed....
Debbie Worthen

High school students retake AP tests after school mix up destroyed them

Two dozen Green Canyon High School students in North Logan won’t get credit for AP tests they took last May as the tests were mistakenly destroyed in transit.
24 hours ago
Photo illustration (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Your credit card can up your interest rate without telling you

If your credit card company raises your interest rate even just a little bit, it could have a significant impact on how long it takes you to get out of debt. A relatively new law means your credit card company can do just that and they do not even have to give you the heads up.
24 hours ago
Police closing the road of Mountain View Corridor and 9000 South after an accident. (UDOT)...
Michael Houck

Three vehicle crash closes Mountain View Corridor, one passenger ejected

Police closed a portion of Mountain View Corridor after a three-vehicle crash Tuesday night.
24 hours ago
Kevin Linford (Facebook)...
Michael Houck & Andrew Adams

Additional charges filed for Utah business owner accused of sexually assaulting two women

The Utah business owner arrested for assaulting two women at a party is facing additional sexual assault charges.
24 hours ago
The sewer line rapid assessment tool or SL-RAT in use in a Salt Lake City street,...
Shelby Lofton

Singing sewer technology saves water for Utah

Singing technology is being used underground across Utah, saving the state a lot of water.
24 hours ago
A holy bible and crucifix rest atop the United States Constitution and American flag, which is embl...
Canice Madsen & Boyd Matheson

‘A More Perfect Union’: Upholding the Constitution

Many people from across the political spectrum believe the Constitution is in crisis. In the upcoming KSL Special ‘A More Perfect Union', Boyd Matheson takes a closer look at how we as individuals can uphold the guiding principles of the Constitution.
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
Lawmakers Continue To Implement Recommendations From Safe Schools Task Force