Weber, Ogden schools applaud recommendations made by school safety commission

Saturday , June 23, 2018 - 5:00 AM

WEBER COUNTY — School officials in Northern Utah have expressed support for the recommendations made by the Utah Safe School Commission this week.

The commission, which was formed after the Parkland, Florida, shooting in February, released 11 recommendations Wednesday to school districts and the Legislature that they believe will make schools safer.

One of the commission’s top recommendations calls for the creation of teams of mental health professionals in the schools. The teams are recommended to be made up of a principal or assistant principal, a school counselor, a school psychologist and a school resource officer. 

> School safety commission wants 'red flag' bill, mandated mental health reporting

Lane Findlay, Weber School District spokesman, said Thursday that recommending mental health teams in every school in the state was a step in the right direction. 

“That’s such an important element when you talk about prevention,” Findlay said. “I thought it was wonderful.”

Findlay said teams like this need to be funded by the Legislature. However, Weber School District has a similar district-wide team in place that helps identify at-risk students.

The school district also hired a mental health specialist last year.

> Ogden, Weber, Davis districts discuss active shooter protocols, safety measures

“That piece will be an enhancement to what we are doing,” Findlay said.

The Utah Safe School Commission also recommended the passing of a bill to be drafted by Rep. Steve Handy, R-Layton, that would allow families, household members and law enforcement to ask a court to remove someone’s access to guns if the person is considered dangerous to others or themselves.

Chris Williams, Davis School District spokesman, didn’t comment on the report citing he didn’t “know anything about the report or what it contains.”

Additionally, the commission said it would like to see legislation passed that would mandate the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification forward “records that would prevent the mentally unfit from buying guns” to the National Instant Criminal Background Check.

Jer Bates, Ogden School District spokesman, said Thursday in an email that some of the recommendations made by the Utah Safe Schools commission were already implemented in the school district.

Although he didn’t go into details, Bates also said other measures were been discussed.

“Ogden School District applauds state leaders for taking a proactive approach to ensuring school safety,” Bates said. “Ogden School District believes that a safe school environment is something that all students deserve.”

Contact education reporter Sergio Martínez-Beltrán at smartinezbeltran@standard.net or 801-625-4274. Follow him on Twitter @SergioMarBel and like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/STANDARDEXSergio.

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