The Idaho State Board of Education’s School Safety and Security Program has released nearly three dozen recommendations for safety and security resources after the May 6 shooting incident at Rigby Middle School.
The board announced in a Monday news release it had published the report, which contains lessons learned in the response and initial recovery of the incident, where two students and one staff member were wounded and a 13-year-old student was taken into custody.
The 11-page report, titled “Rigby Middle School Shooting Post-Incident Review Report” is posted on the School Safety and Security Program webpage on the State Board of Education’s website or at bit.ly/RigbyReport.
The report was generated from interviews with district staff and local emergency responders who were on the scene, the release said. The report lists 29 recommendations on a variety of topics including emergency communications, planning and training, and crisis mental health support.
The key lessons learned in preventing acts of targeted violence within K-12 schools requires means and methods for gathering and evaluating information of concern and developing mitigation strategies based on the assessment of the behavior, the report said.
“This document is not intended to create a coherent fact picture, determine causality, or assign blame,” the report said. “The sole intent of the document is to capture lessons learned and make recommendations for safety and security resources in keeping with the statutory mandate of the Idaho School Safety and Security program.”
Rigby Middle School staff and other adults reported that students had knowledge of concerning behaviors prior to the incident which were not reported until after the shooting, the report said. One classmate observed a drawing from the accused attacker that depicted a gun and a school. Other students saw several concerning posts on social media and changes in behavior.
“Research indicates that in most cases of school violence, students are aware of concerning behaviors before school officials are, as was the case here,” the report said.
The board recommended schools establish a confidential tip line for students to report concerning behaviors they may see from their peers. Rigby Middle School did have a tip line available at the time of the shooting, but it was not emphasized to students during the 2020-2021 school year and new sixth-grade students likely had little awareness of the service, the report said.
Other recommendations include implementing a social media threat detection system, cross-training designated school staff to local law enforcement agency standards, establishing mental health support programs and having an efficient and quick plan to notify parents of their children’s’ status and unite families.
Jefferson School District 251 announced in a Monday news release it was partnering with the Upper Valley Child Advocacy Center and other community partners for a Mental Health Symposium on Oct. 8 at Harwood Elementary School.
The school district also recently banned backpacks at secondary schools following another incident where a student brought a gun to Rigby Middle School on Thursday. There were no shots fired or injuries to any other students during the incident.
School Safety and Security Program Manager Mike Munger said in the news release that the recommendations are intended for school districts throughout the state to consider given their own unique campus environments, facilities and resources.
“This was a traumatic experience for everyone involved and we learned some valuable lessons from the interviews that we hope will help prevent future acts of violence,” Munger said in the release.
The report was presented on Monday to the Idaho School Safety and Security Advisory Board, which is made up of public school, law enforcement and emergency response officials, legislators, parents and teachers.