by Becky GINOS
FARMINGTON—Teachers and students are back in the classroom in Davis School District and so are new safety measures. Superintendent Reid Newey and Assistant Superintendent John Zurbuchen gave the school board an update on security at their last meeting.
“Safety is a pretty dynamic and changing area,” said Newey. “We want to keep pace with that.”
Zurbuchen demonstrated how the security cameras work by showing the hallway outside of the boardroom as people were arriving for the meeting. He said that over the next two years they will be updating the cameras throughout the district.
“This system has a lot of potential,” Newey said. “A sure method of prevention is early detection. It all comes back to who gets in the building.”
They also announced a new position within the security office. The employee has a law enforcement background and will be monitoring several cameras in real time each day and following social media to look for any red flags.
“It will help us get to kids in crisis,” said Newey. “Our goal is avoidance at all cost.”
He won’t be trying to build a case against anyone, he said. “We want to believe in kids and families. It’ll be case management. It’s about prevention and solving some of the mental health issues. Davis County has the best percentage in the state for using the SafeUT app.”
Staff and visitors are required to wear ID badges so school administrators know who is in the buildings, said Chris Williams, director of communication & operations for the district.
“We make sure teachers are in the hallways at class change in our secondary schools. We establish relationships with the students and we have school counselors,” he said. “We let students, faculty and parents know they are the eyes and ears of the school. We ask them if they see something, say something. That means if they see something, hear something, read something that makes them feel uncomfortable and is out of the ordinary – report it.”
Williams said the district has standardized drill schedules for lockouts, lockdowns, fires, earthquakes, shelter in place and evacuations. “We want to drill to a point that people react instinctively and know how to respond.”
The district doesn’t plan to share all of its security measures but Williams said they are moving forward with many efforts to keep schools safe.
“Most students find schools a great place to be,” he said. “Some students are anxious, some battle depression. Some, once in a while, may think they shouldn’t be around and think about harming themselves. We want to know what may trigger those thoughts and help students who find themselves with that mindset.”
Also, everyone needs a friend, said Williams. “No one can have enough friends. So anything we can do and any way we can find to help our students – and any way we can build a culture in a school and keep it a great place to be – we are going to do that.”