Common Incident Responses and Parent Tips

Common Incident Responses and Parent Tips


Since 2013, The SUHSD Security Work Group, in cooperation with local law enforcement partners and key agencies has made significant developments and revisions to incident response protocol. Best practices and lessons learned have been incorporated from internal and national resources in order to provide the most up-to date procedures appropriate for education settings. SUHSD schools aim to be prepared to respond to a spectrum of incidents: from the frequent/low-risk to the infrequent/high-risk

Emergency Communications

Clear communications are key to balancing the goals of maintaining physical and psychological safety. Internal communications are achieved by secure radio systems, telecommunications, and mobile platforms. Incident communications to community are coordinated between school, district and law enforcement to maximize the critical goals of accuracy, timeliness and redundancy.

Parent Tip

SUHSD and police may occasionally take longer to provide incident information–compared to the speed of social media and local news. However, what we provide will be verified. Please be aware of the risks of spreading rumors about unconfirmed information.

Threat Assessment

SUHSD has implemented a comprehensive threat assessment protocol to analyze the potential for foreseeable risk to self- or others. This is a confidential process that will involve an appropriate team composition of school administration, psychologists, and law enforcement. The first goal of threat assessment is to determine the level of risk. The second goal is to provide appropriate intervention in order to prevent harm. A third goal of threat assessment is to provide ongoing monitoring and a system of safeguards and supports.

Parent Tip

If you gain information about a student who may be a risk to self- or others, please use any of the recommended reporting methods you are comfortable with. 911 is fastest.

Clear Room

This is a single room evacuation procedure. It may be used for a variety of situations: an ill student, uncooperative or non-cooperative student, to potential violence. Clear Room is commonly used as a proactive tool to de-escalate situations. This procedure is drilled annually.

Secure Campus (formerly termed “Heightened Security”)

This protocol has been added in recent years to provide enhanced campus-wide physical and psychological safety in situations that do not yet call for a full lockdown. During Secure Campus, students continue with education activities behind closed and locked doors. Outdoor activities will be moved indoors. This protocol may be used in response to a dangerous animal, police activity in the vicinity, or other risks not requiring a full lockdown and halting of all activities. Since 2013, SUHSD has employed this response more than any other campus-wide protocol. It is drilled twice per year.

Parent Tip

Please do not attempt to pick up your student during a Secure Campus. At the onset, no-one but police will be allowed to move in- or out of the school. The vast majority of incidents requiring Secure Campus are resolved within an hour or less.


SUHSD has implemented an options-based approach to lockdown in accordance with national active shooter protocol recommendations from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and FBI. SUHSD has worked closely with the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) to employ a run-hide-fight approach that is developmentally appropriate for our student populations. This assertive options-based response is made most effective with intensive staff trainings and semi-annual drills with local police.

Parent tip

DO NOT attempt to come to school to pick up your student(s) during a lockdown. Lockdown is reserved for incidents with the most potential risk. If the campus must be evacuated, students will most likely be bussed to an alternate location. So, waiting for official district information is best. Similarly to Secure Campus, the vast majority of Lockdowns last less than an hour.

Bomb Threat

SUHSD school administrations and our local police partners assess bomb threats and respond with a spectrum of options.

Parent Tip

Similar to Lockdown, please DO NOT come to the school to attempt to pick up your student(s) during a bomb threat. It is critical that police and school are able to concentrate their attention on assessing the situation without having to manage additional variables.


If it ever becomes necessary to release students early, then the school’s reunification plan may be activated to ensure accountability and safe release of students. For reunifications, students will only be released to parents or guardians on file with the school. If you cannot pick up your child early, s/he will remain under adult supervision.

Parent Tip

Official photo identification will be required. Expect traffic delays, and a difficult parking situation.

There are two ways a reunification may occur. Following a lower-intensity incident such as a plumbing stoppage, waterline break, nearby fires, extreme heat, or similar, reunification will be held at the school. Following a high intensity incident, it is possible that students may be bussed to an alternate location. This location would be announced by police, district office and local media.

This is another reason to refrain from coming to the school during a Lockdown. You would only be adding to an already difficult traffic situation for first responders and busses.

Training and Drills

SUHSD invests in providing ALL school safety teams comprised of principal, assistant principal, psychologist, counsellor, nurse, classroom teacher, PE teacher, campus assistant, head custodian and office assistant. They engage in an annual full-day Train the Trainer training where they receive presentations on current research followed by an array of practical applications and rigorous active shooter scenarios. The school teams are furnished with resources for training and drills at their school sites. The local police agencies provide invaluable support to help make this an exhaustive and impactful Sweetwater tradition.