Parents, teachers and students show no tolerance for weapons at school
The Park Record editorial, Sept. 9-12 2017
With classes in session for less than a month, the Park City School District already has experienced a sobering reminder of the times we live in. Tuesday night, a local student posted a Snapchat photo of a weapon in a backpack along with a threatening comment.
But the threat did not fall on deaf ears. Alert students showed the post to their parents who immediately called school district officials who wasted no time turning the matter over to the Park City Police Department.
The weapon turned out to be a non-lethal airsoft gun and while we may never know whether the student actually planned to bring it to school or whether it was a prank, everyone — from the kids to the police — did exactly the right thing.
The school district, too, after some missteps in the past, is to be commended for quickly releasing details about the incident to the community.
Hopefully, the student who created the commotion is getting the counseling he or she needs. And, if nothing else, Tuesday’s scare served as a valuable training exercise and test of the schools’ safety protocol.
We cannot promise that every potential tragedy will be so deftly averted, though we desperately wish that we could. Park City families, like so many around the nation, are already sensitized to the dangers facing today’s school campuses. We, too, have lost youths to drugs, depression and reckless behavior. But from those tragedies we have learned some tough lessons.
Last year citizens from every sector of the city vowed to strengthen the community’s mental-health safety net, specifically by increasing awareness, empathy and access to treatment. Apparently, some of the programs that came out of that initiative are already paying off. In this case, teens were aware of the seriousness of the situation, their parents listened and knew who to contact at the school district, and school officials trusted law enforcement to handle the errant student with firmness and compassion.
There is more work to be done as Park City and Summit County make good on their promises to keep our children healthy – both mentally and physically. But there are signs that we have already taken steps in the right direction.