Record editorial: Incidents illustrate importance of continued vigilance in our schools
When it comes to protecting the children in our schools, there is no such thing as a threat that doesn’t warrant serious attention. It’s a philosophy local school and law enforcement officials were forced to put into action twice last week.
On Thursday, administrators at Treasure Mountain Junior High found a handwritten note saying there was a bomb in the school’s library. The Park City Police Department quickly determined the threat was a hoax. A day later, the police were summoned again after school officials learned that a child on a bus had overheard students discussing an alleged note that indicated someone planned to bring a gun to a school on Friday. That threat, too, proved unfounded.
While students were ultimately not in any actual danger in either incident, the Park City School District and the Police Department should be commended for their rapid response in both cases. The sad reality in America in 2019 is that no parent can truly rest easy when they drop their children off at the bus stop. But Parkites can be assured that the people they charge with protecting their children during the school day take that responsibility seriously.
Officials, though, are only able to act on a threat if they know about it. That’s where students, who are often the first to learn of a potential dangerous situation, come in. Last week’s incidents are a prime opportunity for parents to talk to their students about the importance of speaking up, even in situations where a threat may not be real or when what they have to say may implicate a friend.
The good news is there’s an app for that. It’s called SafeUT and allows students statewide to provide anonymous tips to appropriate officials (as well as receive suicide prevention and crisis counseling services). That’s how the school district learned of last week’s alleged gun threat, in fact, and parents throughout Park City — and the rest of Summit County — should ensure their kids have access to the app.
It’s unfortunate that, rather than focusing only on learning when they walk into class, our children have to deal with the possibility of threats in their schools. But by being willing to speak up so district and law enforcement officials can act swiftly, students can help ensure the thing that is most important to every parent in our community continues: that they and their classmates return home safely every day.
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