February 24, 2023
In the past few weeks, you may have received notifications or heard about anonymous threats made to one or more of our schools. Sadly, TUSD, like many other districts across the state and country, has experienced an increase in these types of hoaxes. I would like to reassure parents that we take all potential threats seriously and our administrators conduct thorough investigations as well as routinely consult with law enforcement as appropriate. Students who are identified as having made a false threat receive consequences outlined in our TUSD Student Accountability Chart which may result in an alternative educational placement. The purpose of this communication is to review our emphasis on transparent communication, safe school cultures and security measures, and mental health resources for students.
Our communication protocol is to notify families when a potential threat is discovered even when we do not have evidence to substantiate its credibility. Because these false threats often immediately circulate on social media, it is imperative that we alert school communities so information received is accurate and consistent. Based on recent feedback, parents want to be informed as quickly as possible so they can make decisions that are in the best interest of their student and family; I appreciate and respect this request as a parent and educator. Although this is always our greatest intention, efforts to immediately investigate all tips and situations must take precedence in order to be able to communicate the most accurate, credible information to our school communities. We realize that notifications and alerts of potential threats, credible or not, may also contribute to a perception that our campuses are unsafe and cause unnecessary fear for our school communities. Regardless, we will continue to follow our communication protocol and share as much information as we can as quickly as we can; the audience, timing, and frequency of communications are determined by the severity of the situation and the level of impact. We maintain communication with law enforcement, and work closely with our school resource officers.
In recent years, we have made investments to expand safety and security, including adopting a “See Something, Say Something” protocol to encourage students to report signs of someone at-risk of hurting themselves or others to a trusted adult. Students have access to a STOPit app as well as on-campus STOPit Boxes for anonymous reporting at all schools. The STOPit App is monitored 24/7 and can be downloaded at http://www.turlock.k12.ca.us/STOPit. The STOPit Box is monitored daily by school administrators at each school. Other safety measures implemented include 1) single points of entry once school begins until it ends; 2) secure perimeter fencing with all gates locked; 3) locked classroom doors during instructional time; 4) expanded technology infrastructure & security cameras; 5) increased campus supervisors at all schools; 6) regular active threat trainings with Knowledge Saves Lives for all staff; and 7) annual review of school safety plans and protocols.
To further support students’ well-being, all TUSD schools maintain one or more school counselors and provide access to mental health services for students and families who are struggling. We encourage families to have a conversation with their student about the importance of sharing information with a trusted adult or utilizing our STOPit resources. Student safety takes all of us—please say something to your student’s school principal or counselor if you become aware of something troublesome. Keeping students and staff safe is our top priority, and your belief and partnership only strengthens this important work. Your input is significant and valued.
Dana Salles Trevethan
Turlock Unified Superintendent