Iron County School District Working To Enhance Safety And Security
In today's ever-changing world, ensuring the safety and security of students, teachers, and staff within educational institutions has become an imperative priority. School safety is not merely confined to protection from physical threats but encompasses a wide array of factors that foster a conducive learning environment. From preventing violence and bullying to addressing mental health concerns and implementing advanced technology, various strategies are essential in promoting a safe and secure learning space for everyone.
To that end, the Iron County School District has hired Zack Tuttle as the Safety and Security Specialist for the district. After spending time as an infantryman on the Marine Corp, Tuttle later joined the Utah National Guard as a human intelligence collector and linguist. He returned from a tour in the middle east “about a year and a half ago.” Tuttle says that experience, along with teaching in the classroom and serving as a reserve officer for the Brianhead Town Marshall and the Parowan Police Department gives him an eclectic background to take this position.
Tuttle, along with Roy Matthews, the Director of Secondary Education for the school district joined us this week on the radio show to give us an overview of policies, measure and actions the district is taking to ensure the safety and security of students and staff at Iron County School District facilities.
Tuttle said he is “hoping to bolster the security and safety that we have at our facilities in the Iron County School District.” He told us it was really about hardening the soft target. “Really it's establishing and maintaining preventative measures and train the teachers and other faculty and making sure we are all on the same page.”
Tuttle also told us that “safety and security” are not necessarily redundant terms. One, safety, has to deal with the policies and procedures that are in place, while the other, security, deals more with things like hard and soft barriers, security cameras and single point of entry to a building.
While school shootings are certainly front and center in the headlines when they happen, and certainly a threat that can not be ignored, when we asked Tuttle if that was the biggest threat facing the schools today and he said, “statistically, no. It's important that we do our part to identify possible threats.” Tuttle indicated that incidents are most likely to start from someone who is currently attending, or recently attended the particular school, and that threats were more likely to be internal.
One thing both Tuttle and Matthews expressed is that the district will do all that they can to make sure information is shared among administration, faculty, emergency responders and law enforcement.
Matthews also mentioned other steps the school district is taking including “having good mental health services for students who are struggling, and having parents access that information.” Matthews also told us that students who turn to violence “didn't feel valued by anybody.”
Right now, the school district is doing a threat assessment on all the school facilities. After that is complete, they will prioritize the needs and then apply for grant money allocated by the state legislature in the last session to help school districts require the materials they need to improve security and safety.
You can listen to the entire segment with our guests below.