During the 2023 Legislative Session, Utah lawmakers passed HB140, which streamlines school drills and procedures for incidents and threats. These can include a range of potential disruptions during a school day and are designed to ensure the safety of students, educators, and emergency responders.
This Standard Response Protocol (SRP) has been around for several years and is considered the gold standard for incident response in schools by some. It comes from the I Love U Guys Foundation, a non-profit organization created in 2006 following a school shooting in Colorado that took the life of Emily Keyes. A final text message to her parents became the name of this Foundation and has inspired them to dedicate school safety efforts to her memory.
Per state law, Murray City School District will communicate and reinforce the SRP system with students and their families annually. This includes drills, specific strategies, and preparations that institutionalize SRP for our entire education community.
The SRP system is simple and made up of five commands. A directive follows each. The commands and directives are a shared language – meaning all students and educators will come to understand them completely, with no confusion. ParentSquare communication channels will be used to notify families if an incident significantly alters a school day.
Initial Public Announcement: “Hold in your room or area. Clear the halls.”
Schools will restrict student movement in the building to their current location, take role, and resume activities. Students in the hallways will join the nearest secure room.
Examples: Medical issues, altercations, unfinished maintenance operations, or other disruptions.
Initial Public Announcement: “Secure! Get inside. Lock outside Doors.”
Schools will lock exterior doors, restrict student movement to inside the building, take role, and resume activities.
Examples: Nearby criminal activity, civil unrest, wild animal, or other exterior disruptions.
Initial Public Announcement: “Lockdown! Locks, lights, out of sight.”
Schools will restrict student movement to their current location, take role, turn off lights, and move students to a pre-designated area that is out of immediate visibility.
Examples of Use: Campus intruder, active assailant, wild animal entering the building, or other elevated incidents.
Initial Public Announcement: “Evacuate to … [specified location].”
Schools will direct students to leave the building, gather at pre-designated locations, and take role. Students not with their class will join the nearest group.
Examples of Use: Power outages, compromised facility safety, or threats of violence.
Initial Public Announcement: “Shelter for … [specified incident and instruction].”
Schools will direct students to take shelter at specific locations, depending on the disruption, where role will be taken.
Examples of Use: Possibly Hazmat spills, earthquakes, flooding, lightning, or other severe weather conditions.
We recognize school safety and potential incidents shared here are unpleasant topics. But your cooperation and support are critical to the execution of SRP. Here are five ways you can help ensure the safety of all students, educators, and emergency responders:
- Official Sources for Communication: If an incident unfolds, you will be notified through ParentSquare communication channels (ie email, SMS/Text, phone, and in-app notifications). Social media and the school or district website will NOT always be an immediate channel for communication as some incidents are isolated to one school. They will be relied on as secondary communication sources. Some information takes time to verify to ensure accuracy - be patient as we prepare and release information. And please resist sharing information from unconfirmed sources.
- Stay Home: Parents are advised not to come to the school. Doing so can endanger yourself, students, educators, and first responders. Professional emergency responders are trained to handle incidents and threats - they need to focus on keeping kids and educators safe.
- Do Not Call the School: As you can imagine, managing the safety of students and educators is paramount. In some situations, calls will be diverted to the District Office. But please understand when information is limited beyond what we share using ParentSquare communications.
- Be Ready: When reunification with your student is necessary, it must be conducted swiftly and orderly. Again, ParentSquare will be the tool for communicating those instructions. Please stand by for instructions and be prepared to act on them quickly.
- Avoid Immediate Communications with Students: Understand that some incidents are volatile or evolving when you first learn about them. Do not call or text your student at that moment, as phone notifications could jeopardize their safety and/or compromise the instruction they are given to remain quiet during an incident.
There are two more very important ways you can support your student and protect all students and educators.
First, if you see something, say something. Students and their families often know about potential or real conditions and threats first. Even if you are unsure if a threat is credible, please report it to school, district, and/or law enforcement officials.
Secondly, keep an open channel of communication with your student. Talk with them regularly about safety prevention and response topics. Rehearse with them these SRP protocols so they are instinctive. And lastly, if they experience an incident, talk with them about it. Help them process it opening so that they feel heard and understood.
Thank you for your support of this new SRP program. Preparedness is the key to safety. MCSD values our partnership with you and our first responders to keep students prepared and safe.