Park City Schools Improve Physical Security But Main Focus is Behavioral Management

While the Utah school district has installed secure vestibules and cameras, internal threats have been its main focus.

Although the Park City School District (Utah) has taken steps to improve physical security on its campuses, its new Chief Operations Officer says it’s the threats from within that he is more focused on.

When Mike Tanner was hired in August, the district was improving its playground fencing and elementary school entrances, reports KPCW.

“…we do have secure vestibules which now kind of lock anybody from the outside from getting into the inside of our schools, along with a background check when folks walked in and present an ID,” he told KPCW. “And we also have cameras in our facilities along with some other hardening devices throughout the schools that help us quite a bit in keeping the elementary school safe.”

The district conducts active shooter drills as well, but Tanner said it is played down because the chances of being shot in a school are slim.

“We’re not trying to scare the kids, we’re simply trying to prepare them for the event that we do have a bad guy get into one of our buildings, how they can best keep themselves safe. Getting attacked in the school by an outside person is about as likely as getting struck by lightning twice in the same day,” he said. “The outside threat while it exists is really not where the majority of the threat lives in most school incidents.”

Instead, Tanner said, the district is focusing much of its time and energy on internal threats, referencing recent U.S. Secret Service data which shows 80% of threats occur from inside the school.

“Our dollars and our time we think are best spent in behavioral management, bullying prevention-type issues, along with we started internal threat assessment and if we do have something that starts to emerge within the school, we have a methodical way of addressing that problem and getting the child the help that they need,” he said.

While its biggest focus is on behavioral management, the district is making other physical security improvements. It is currently beta testing advanced weapons scanning and considering scanning technologies at entrances and artificial intelligence for behavior monitoring.

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