CSD Thinks Safe: Summer months spent conducting district-wide safety review

In response to heightened concerns about school safety following the tragedy in the last week of school in Uvalde, Texas, Canyons has undertaken a review of safety and security measures at campuses and central offices. of the district.

The Canyons School Board and Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins tasked the district’s emergency management team – made up of school board members, senior administrators and representatives from CSD elementary, middle and high schools – to conduct the internal review.

CSD’s Emergency Management Team, which was formed in 2016 to continuously assess security plans and protocols in the Canyons District, expects to complete the review in the coming weeks.

Working with managers and custodians, the team assessed each facility’s existing security measures, as well as updated and strengthened the district’s already robust Incident Command Manual, which is meant to be the CSD’s guide to emergency response.

As part of the effort to make CSD schools safer, Canyons District student support and curriculum experts are also developing a life skills and character education program to influence school climates and target aggressive or defiant student behavior.

At any time during the internal review, if major deficiencies are found at a facility in the Canyons District, an immediate recommendation will be made to resolve the issue prior to the start of the school year for the 2022-2023 school year. The first day of school is Monday, August 15.

Additional recommendations and findings will be presented to the school board and superintendent. “The goal of the proactive review is to identify gaps so we can develop a plan to address them immediately,” Dr. Robins said. “Let there be no doubt in the minds of parents, students and employees: school safety is at the top of our list of priorities for the coming school year. :

In the coming school year, CSD is committed to increasing efforts to communicate with parents, students, and employees about Canyons security features, including security cameras and entrances. card access, which are already in place in Canyons schools.

“We want our schools to be a place where every member of the community feels welcome,” Dr. Robins said, “but at the same time our schools should be equipped with the security measures that will make our campuses as safe as possible. . ”

The audit is just the latest in a series of efforts by Canyons to keep schools safe, welcoming and prepared.

CSD installed buzz-in systems at the main entrances of elementary and middle schools, implemented visitor registration processes, launched a background check program for all volunteers, provided all schools with automated external defibrillators and carbon monoxide detectors, conducts regular water quality testing, and has a drill schedule in place for emergencies such as earthquakes, shutdowns, fires, hazardous waste spills, and extreme weather conditions, among other incidents.

Canyons was also the first district in Utah to fully partner with SafeUT, the mobile app and website that gives students of all ages immediate access to mental health supports at the University of Utah. . The high-tech tip line can be used to anonymously report school fights, harassment, bullying, drug use or weapons. Additional information about SafeUT, which may be downloaded herewill be sent to students and parents before the start of the school year.

In addition, CSD’s Student Services Department participated in a School Threat Assessment training this summer with one of the nation’s leading experts in de-escalating problematic behaviors in schools, and a team of school and district administrators attended a national school safety conference. , as well. Lessons learned at workshops and conferences will be passed on to school staff.

Canyons District also has partnerships with Draper, Cottonwood Heights, Sandy, and the United Police Department for School Resource Officers who are responsible for providing law enforcement support to all schools in Canyons. The CSD helps pay the salaries of the 15 standards-certified officers and police officer training who provide security at schools, and the CSD administration often meets with chiefs of police and senior officers from the Unified Police Services. from the Unified Police, Cottonwood Heights, Draper and Sandy to discuss security issues. and police protocols. CSD schools are often used by the police for training.

Additionally, funds from two publicly approved general obligation bonds have enabled the District of Canyons to rebuild schools with safety in mind. The new schools are earthquake-proof, have surveillance systems and automatic locks that require employees to have an ID badge to enter. Entrances and exits are also strategically located.

But much of what CSD does to build and maintain safe, welcoming, and prepared campuses isn’t as visible — but it’s just as important. From internet filters that have been put in place to prevent students from accessing inappropriate online content to policies prohibiting bullying, harassment and discrimination, Canyons District builds safe schools from the inside out.

Lance B. Holton