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Juvenile from outside Park City School District rode school bus and entered junior high classroom

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PCSD
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Anyone visiting a Park City school campus is required to check in at the front office and wear a name tag. But last week, a juvenile from outside the school district reportedly rode a school bus to Treasure Mountain Jr. High School and sat down in a classroom before being discovered.

Last Tuesday, a boy rode a Park City School District bus to Treasure Mountain Junior High, went to a class with a friend who attends the school, and told students he was there to see friends.

According to a parent whose student is enrolled in that class, the boy doesn’t attend school in Park City, and was eventually removed from the class without conflict.

Lorie Pearce is superintendent Jill Gildea’s executive assistant and also serves as a district spokeswoman. She told KPCW the incident was no cause for alarm and part of normal operations. However, she declined to confirm that the boy was authorized to be on the bus or in the classroom.

Pearce said district officials would not comment further on the incident.

The teacher of the class where the boy showed up also declined to confirm whether he was supposed to be there.

KPCW verified the parent’s information with an additional source.

The district requires students who ride district buses to carry passes that identify them. Getting on buses other than those students are registered for is typically not permitted. It’s unclear how the boy was able to ride the bus, although another parent said students no longer have to scan their passes to ride buses, as they did pre-COVID.

Treasure Mountain and Park City High School have long struggled with security issues. Because students take classes at both campuses, there is constant traffic between the two, and doors that are supposed to remain locked were often propped open by students for easier access.

In recent years the district upped its building security, adding cameras, locked check-in areas and identification requirements. Schools also practice for emergencies with regular drills.

Mike Tanner has been chief operating officer for the district since 2019. Earlier this fall, he highlighted to KPCW security efforts including new software and screamer alarms at the high school that let office staff know when a door is opened.

He said at that time a critical tool in preventing school violence is for people to speak up if they suspect any threats. He said, "if you see something, say something."

Michelle, who joined KPCW in 2021, arrived in Utah in 2018 by way of Massachusetts, where the skiing was icy and the mosquitoes formidable. A former daily newspaper reporter and editor (at the Visalia Times-Delta in CA) and columnist (at The Cohasset Mariner in MA), Michelle has been a writer and editor for decades. She holds a journalism degree from CSU Fresno and has worked as a journalist, freelance writer and web content creator, reporting extensively on education and youth along with general assignment and breaking news.