Father outraged over ‘lack of security’ at high school

Sep 28, 2022, 9:34 PM | Updated: Sep 29, 2022, 6:31 am

HOLLADAY, Utah — A father in the Granite School District is outraged over what he calls a “lack of security” at Olympus High School.

J.C. McKissen said police called him last week to inform him his daughter had been named in a threat.

“A bunch of kids had called them and given them a tip that this student had either gotten a gun or was going to get a gun and shoot our daughter in the face,” McKissen said.

McKissen held his ninth grade daughter out of school until Wednesday after the school assured him a safety plan was in place to keep her safe. He said the school did follow that plan but when he stopped by the school to check overall safety measures, he couldn’t believe how accessible the campus was to anyone wanting to enter.

“We can’t even talk about guns if we’re not going to lock doors,” McKissen said.

The front doors aren’t locked during school hours at Granite School District high schools. But, McKissen said that’s just where it started. He got out his phone and started shooting video of how easy it was to roam the halls without being questioned.

“In the cafeteria, there was a custodial worker who didn’t ask me anything,” McKissen said.

Over the next several minutes of video, McKissen roamed the halls, from the cafeteria to the second floor.

“I mean I walked right up to the doorway of a classroom at one point and literally no one said anything to me,” McKissen said.

He is outraged by the lack of compliance with policy and security.

Granite School District spokesperson Ben Horsley wants schools to be more secure too, but said that comes down to money.

“It’s my worst nightmare, it’s what keeps me up at night,” Horsley said regarding a violent incident at a Granite school.

Horsley also released this statement.

We sincerely appreciate Mr. Mckissen’s concerns and I have spent an extended amount of time with after this incident involving his child. He is understandably upset regarding the situation with his daughter. Due to the threat, a safety plan was created specific for this student that includes an adult tracker that remains with this child throughout the day. The perpetrator in this case is not a student and was not found to have access to a weapon and is currently in a secure facility. We appreciate the prompt response from Unified Police who provides the SRO at this campus and are the lead agency in the investigation. We are unable to comment further regarding their investigation.

With respect to the security of the Olympus High facility. Exterior doors are secured after every class change and after lunch. Two sets of doors are open throughout the day and adult supervision of those entry points has been provided in the past and will be reassessed. During transitions, we have several hundred students who come from off campus learning sites including the LDS Seminary program across the street.

As a school and district, we continually assess and evaluate how to ensure the security of all facilities including the use of secure vestibules. At the current time, Granite has funded and built secure entries at 57 of our elementary schools with the average cost of over a million dollars for each project. We have the 7 remaining campuses under construction at the current time. Additionally, we are working to install doorbell systems at our junior high locations so those doors can remain locked at all times. We share his concerns with respect to getting these projects completed as soon as possible and have worked diligently within the funding constraints we have to do so.

Just yesterday, our superintendent reminded our staff districtwide in his snapshot videos about our security protocols in this video –

The issue of open high school campuses is a statewide issue and concern and is not unique to Granite District or Olympus High. We have a district level committee that meets several times monthly in an ongoing effort to evaluate security and opportunities to enhance our facilities. Specifically, we regularly address and work to identify funding mechanisms to secure our campuses. This committee is currently in the process of evaluating weapons detection systems. From the patron’s video, it’s obvious that students can go out multiple doors and could theoretically let someone in which is what occurred in the video. Having multiple doors for exiting is required to vacate/exit a campus in any emergency.

We share this patron’s concerns and our ongoing efforts demonstrate a commitment to safety for all of our students and staff and we will continue to work towards that end. It was conveyed to him that the district will do everything in its power to ensure his child’s safety and the safety of all students and staff.”

Horsley said additional security is limited by budget deficits. The cost would require legislative approval and taxpayer funding.

McKissen said it’s time to take security seriously.

“I believe it’s only a matter of time before something very bad happens either at this school or another school in this district that follows the same policy,” McKissen said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Education & Schools

Canoemobile Program...

Logan Stefanich,

Canoemobile program gives students a new way of looking at the Jordan River

Wilderness Inquiry's Canoemobile isn't your usual van down by the river — this one comes with a trailer carrying pounds of gear and strapped with canoes.

1 month ago

Jared Tichy (Edison Elementary School)...

Michael Houck and Shara Park, KSL TV

Edison Elementary School teacher charged with sexual abuse

A longtime teacher at Edison Elementary School is facing allegations of sexually abusing a student during class.

1 month ago

Harleen Saini...

Katija Stjepovic

3 Granite School students recognized in national business competition

As a senior in high school, it's rare to have it all figured out but some seniors in the Granite School District might.

2 months ago

(KSL TV)...

Karah Brackin

South Salt Lake school participates in the Great Utah Shakeout

Every year, organizations, workplaces, schools and homes across the state participate in the Great Utah ShakeOut. Lincoln Elementary was one of the schools that participated Thursday.

2 months ago

Alpine School District parents outside Windsor Elementary giving their statements on the lawsuit. (...

Logan Stefanich, and Ladd Egan, KSLTV

Parents file lawsuit to prevent Alpine School District from closing schools

A group of Alpine School District parents announced plans to file a lawsuit against the district, which has plans to close schools and redefine boundaries

2 months ago

The Piute County School District is set to move to a four-day school week next year after the Utah ...

Logan Stefanich

Piute County School District set to move to 4-day school week next year

The Piute County School District is set to move to a four-day school week next year after the Utah State Board of Education last week approved a request for the transition.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...

BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.

Close up of an offset printing machine during production...

Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...

Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...

Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.

notebook with password notes highlighted...

PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.

Father outraged over ‘lack of security’ at high school