Canyons School District reflects on safety following Tennessee school shooting

Mar 31, 2023, 2:34 PM | Updated: May 21, 2023, 4:24 pm

MIDVALE, Utah — All of the elementary, middle and some of the Canyons School District’s high schools have security vestibules at the front of campus — one of many security measures in place to protect students and staff.

Jeff Haney, spokesperson for the district, said after the school shooting in Uvalde last year, the district spent months reevaluating their security protocols.

“We asked ourselves, are the outside doors always locked? Are they locked through the electronic key system? Are the surveillance cameras working? Are they in the right places?” Haney said.

Monday was no different. After hearing about the school shooting in Nashville, the district once again referred to the safety measures in place.

“Your heart drops. You thank our luck stars that it doesn’t happen right here in our own backyard,” Haney said. “It makes us look at our safety protocols to make sure our schools are as safe as they can be.”

One area they focused a lot of their attention on district-wide was exterior doors.

“Once you get inside one set of doors, there is also another door you would have to get through. And in an emergency situation, we can lock those down,” Haney said.

At each campus, visitors must sign in at the locked front office. Additionally, volunteers, like family members helping out with an activity, must clear a back ground check.

Cameras are strategically placed in hallways to see each external door, which are all on an electronic key system.

“If you don’t have an ID badge that has given you approval to get in that door, you don’t get in that door,” Haney said.

Say a threat does get inside, schools have the ability to lock all interior doors with the swipe of a card. The district has 17 school resource officers and they all have relationships with local law enforcement.

“Our law enforcement partners know which doors will be open so they can get in as quickly as possible to address the issue at hand. The major issue — make sure our students and teachers remain as safe as possible,” Haney said.

Another safety measure district-wide: school drills.

“Once a month in our elementary schools and four times a year in our secondary schools, our whole school community does training drills,” Haney said.

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Canyons School District reflects on safety following Tennessee school shooting