Editorial: We are grateful for Park City School District’s commitment to safety
It used to be impossible to imagine a school shooting like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida happening in Park City.
But as shootings have become common in schools across the country, with little action from lawmakers to help prevent them, the sad and scary truth is that there’s not a community in America where such a tragedy couldn’t happen. That includes our peaceful mountain town.
The good news is that our school officials are doing their best to make sure Park City never joins the ranks of places like Parkland, Florida, and Newtown, Connecticut. The Park City School District in recent years has taken a proactive approach to safety within its school halls, working with local law enforcement officials and safety experts to implement a number of measures aimed at protecting students.
Some of the most noticeable changes have come this school year. They include the reworking of school entrances to require that visitors check in with office personnel before they’re allowed to proceed into the buildings; locking all doors from the outside during school hours; and improved notification systems to inform parents of incidents.
That’s on top of updating district safety protocols and training school staff.
What’s most encouraging is that school leaders don’t seem content to stop there. In fact, the Board of Education was scheduled on Tuesday to review the results of a third-party safety assessment, and the prevailing attitude is that safety needs to be embedded in every level of the district’s culture, from the superintendent to teachers to certified staff like custodians and cafeteria workers.
Importantly, the district has also been willing to learn from its mistakes. For instance, when a principal mistakenly sent some students outside to a portable classroom instead of keeping them inside when schools along the Kearns Boulevard campus went into lockdown and lockout during an incident last fall, school officials vowed to take steps to prevent the error from happening again. And they’ve since ramped up safety efforts even more.
It’s tragic that the prevalence of violence in schools necessitates such efforts. It would be a better world if school officials could spend 100 percent of their time focused on educating students instead of making sure they’re safe from gun violence.
At the same time, it’s hard to overstate how grateful we are for the Park City School District’s efforts to provide us with the peace of mind when we drop them off each day that they are.
The efforts of organizations like the South Summit Trails Foundation mean access to easy access to trails is no longer an amenity enjoyed only on the West Side.