Nebo School District is getting $11 million safer.
The district is investing capital funds into communication software, cell boosters and other safety upgrades at schools within its boundaries in an attempt to improve security.
“I think that besides educating students, one of our biggest focuses is keeping students safe while they are in our charge,” said Lana Hiskey, a spokeswoman for the Nebo School District.
The funds have partially gone toward creating secured entrances at Canyon, Rees, Spanish Oaks, East Meadows and Sierra Bonita elementary schools in Spanish Fork; Hobble Creek Elementary School in Mapleton; Spring Lake Elementary School in Payson; Westside Elementary School in Springville; Orchard Hills Elementary School in Santaquin; and Mount Loafer and Foothills elementary schools in Salem.
Hiskey said the district has put together a committee for safety and security and has been working on preventing and responding to safety situations. That includes a system that allows the district to get ahold of all parents within 15 minutes and putting cell boosters in school so that every teacher can have service in an emergency.
“If something happens, we have to be able to get communication out quickly,” Hiskey said.
The district added cameras to schools and increased lighting by 30%. It purchased additional medical kits, partnered with cities to bring in additional resource officers, added mental health counselors, overhauled internet safety and added new fire panel sensors at schools. It also hired a safety consultant architect to go through older buildings to see how security can be improved.
In addition to noncustodial parents coming into schools and removing children, one of the next top security issues for schools has to do with parents dropping off and picking up their students.
Hiskey said some schools are seeing redesigned traffic flows to minimize potential hazards.
“That is one of our security issues, for sure,” she said.
Hiskey said the district has also added security gates at schools because parents were driving onto playgrounds to drop off students.