In the wake of the tragic shooting in Florida, we wanted to reiterate the tools our schools have taken to prevent tragedies and protect our students and staff. Our thoughts are with the Parkland, Florida community, and we are constantly seeking resources that can prevent such a tragedy in our schools, and respond quickly and appropriately in case of emergency. Some of these resources include the following:
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports
Our first step to keeping students safe is to provide a safe, secure environment with clear expectations for appropriate behavior. We do so through clear systems for communicating behavior expectations, reinforcing appropriate behavior, and quickly and consistently responding to inappropriate behavior. As we do so, and as students recognize the consistent expectations and supports available, the environment in a school becomes more positive and secure.
On a regular basis, our schools participate in various type of emergency drills including shelter in place and building evacuations so that students are familiar and reminded of these procedures. Communication, even to our elementary levels students, include sharing information that is concerning to them i.e. something they have heard or seen with a trusted adult at their school.
Logan High and Mount Logan Middle School have recently begun the implementation of Hope Squads at each school. Hope Squads are groups of students who are trained to recognize signs of emotional distress in their peers, and then help those peers interact with school employees in order to access the mental health supports they need. The supports we provide in our schools include trained counselors and social workers. As students gain access to appropriate mental health supports they are less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors, including violence toward themselves and others.
With the 1:1 technology initiative at Logan High, monitoring students’ internet usage have become increasingly important. Our LAN School network allows teachers and administrators to monitor students’ computer usage to identify inappropriate usage, including access to potentially harmful information, and respond accordingly.
SafeUT is an app for mobile devices that is used across the state of Utah. It allows users to submit anonymous tips to mental health providers, school administration, and law enforcement regarding threats of harm. It also allows individuals in crisis the opportunity to make personal contact with trained mental health professionals. All of our students and staff have been presented with the app, and our administrators receive notifications if their schools are referenced in any of the tips provided.
This program allows rapid communication between school staff and first responders in case of an emergency. DIR-S allows first responders and staff to identify the location of a threat on a real-time map of the school, which allows a faster response time by police and firefighters. The map function also allows school staff to make informed decisions regarding their response to emergencies, particularly when and how to evacuate a classroom. This program is new to our schools this year, and training for staff is ongoing.
As a superintendent, I take the responsibility to protect our students and staff very seriously. My staff and I are doing all we can, using the resources mentioned above, to ensure our schools remain safe, positive environments where students can learn, free from fear of harm. If you have questions about any of these resources, please contact my office.
Superintendent Frank Schofield