Safety Town Hall: We’re in this together

On July 7, 2022, our district hosted a Safety Town Hall in response to community concerns around school safety. Following the absolutely tragic act of violence in Uvalde, Texas, we felt the need to provide a platform for a very tough, but important conversation.

Safety is and always has been a priority for SUSD, and we are very fortunate to have positive, long-standing relationships with our local law enforcement agencies. We feel strongly that school safety is a shared responsibility between school, law enforcement and community. For that reason, we invited representatives from the Tucson Police Department and the Pima County Sheriff’s Department to share with the community about all the ways we work together to ensure that our campuses are following safety best practices. Other panelists and presenters included our mental health awareness division, community partner LPKNC, a parent representative and two students.

We are grateful to all of the individuals who joined us on stage to address questions, including our moderator Mr. Duncan Moon, and to all of the organizations present that evening to provide resources and information to the community.

Town Hall Question & Answer

Since we were not able to address all of the questions during the town hall, we have provided answers for you below. Please visit the page periodically as we will continue to update the page with more questions and answers.

Is there a difference between an active shooter situation and a hostage situation?

Our officers are trained to answer the following questions when dispatched: Is there ANY EVIDENCE or DRIVING FORCE indicating that the suspect is actively killing or attempting to kill victims? Are the suspect’s actions preventing medical attention from reaching critically injured victims? When any of these factors are present it is considered an active killer… Continue Reading

What/how can the public/parents access correct info when we have a major incident?

One of the most important things parents can do is to keep their contact information up to date with the school district. When a major incident happens we use several communications channels to distribute information as accurately and quickly as possible. Bright Arrow, our parent communications system, allows us to send email, text messages and… Continue Reading

Will teachers also have the option to submit reports through the online survey link, or will they have a separate reporting form?

Every school reviews emergency and reporting protocols for how to report incidents or concerns. We encourage all staff to report student safety issues immediately to their direct supervisor, the Director of Security or 911. The student “See Something, Say Something” form is designed to encourage students to report concerns anonymously… Continue Reading

How often are campus monitors trained?

Campus monitors meet throughout the year for training and to stay up to date with best practices. SUSD monitors receive three full days of inservice training throughout the year. In addition, campus monitors gather for a professional development day once a month… Continue Reading

At the elementary level, how is safety going to be improved? It seems like middle and high schools are addressed more but elementary schools seem defenseless, other than the gates in the office.

The District Security Team is currently in the process of auditing every elementary school to make improvements with visitor management systems. Some improvements will include better gates and fences and adding more cameras and video doorbells to front offices. In addition, we are working on a plan to have more law enforcement officer presence at… Continue Reading

How can we ensure student safety when the threat may be a former student who is aware of the procedures, hiding spaces, etc.? How can we address this in training?

One critical piece to campus security is being able to identify students and staff with identification badges. In addition, we are working on preventative measures such as reporting concerning behavior and continuously assessing our security protocols and visitor management systems to control who enters and exits school campuses. Throughout the year schools have mandatory and… Continue Reading

What will you do to teach students to be safe in case of a school shooting?

All schools are required to hold lockdown drills twice a year. During these drills, teachers are expected to discuss safety protocols for a variety of scenarios including fire evacuations, lockdowns and medical emergencies. For the last seven years, our district has partnered with local law enforcement to host active shooter training sessions each summer. We… Continue Reading

For schools with classrooms outside of the main building, is there a plan to add another level of security (i.e. peepholes, cameras) to view outside when doors are locked/closed?

Every campus and building has its own unique layout and challenges, and it’s our priority to establish safety protocols that serve each school. We understand that communication is critical when situations arise such as emergency evacuations and lockdowns. We have run an assessment on our PA systems and we are making the necessary adjustments where… Continue Reading

Every school shooting has been committed by teen/young adult males who seemed to have had no emotional support from their community. What support systems other than counseling does Sunnyside have in place to support the young men in the community to prevent this in our community?

Extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs or afterschool programs provide safe spaces for students to engage in positive activities. Oftentimes, coaches, teachers and adults take on the role of a mentor to students. The AWARE team has presented to students and staff in the high schools about suicide awareness and and mental unrest in addition… Continue Reading

What is the process of getting kids to counseling or mental help after a crisis?

Students/families are referred most often from the counselors at the school sites. If it is not the counselors then a designated administrator can make the referral. Parents can also call the AWARE office line directly at (520) 545-2015. Project AWARE… Continue Reading

How close is the relationship between the police department and the mental health department?

The police department and the Sunnyside AWARE team are connected and do support each other in any issues that arise. We are comfortable calling each other and asking for support when needed. The relationship has grown over time and continues to grow in support of the community… Continue Reading

What are we doing to combat the homeless population near Sunnyside and Sierra?

We work closely with law enforcement to report incidents that raise concerns, including reporting people without housing, if they appear to be disrupting the school day or posing a threat to our students and families. We encourage community members to assist in reporting concerns to law enforcement and city and county officials… Continue Reading

What is the admin’s major concern on student safety?

The safety of our students is our top priority. As such, we worked diligently this summer to assess our security operations for the district. In addition to the security systems and strong foundation we have in place, we made adjustments where necessary and invested in training to improve our practices. It’s important to recognize that… Continue Reading

Is it possible for police/sheriff to have more presence in the elementary setting and build those relationships with younger students?

Officer presence is critical and it is equally important for our law enforcement officers and students to establish a relationship. This is a great opportunity to learn from each other while keeping the safety of our students at the forefront. Currently, we have three law enforcement officers and one school resource officer. We are working… Continue Reading

Could there be something in place for parents to submit an anonymous report to school personnel?

Currently, we have options for parents to anonymously report concerns via our safety and security line at (520) 545-4444, or email security@susd12.org. These lines are managed by the district security department… Continue Reading

How can we assist our families/parents with their concerns for their student or another student, regarding a mental or physical issue?

We encourage parents/families to reachout to their children’s site counselors and leadership. There will be a quick response once the communication is initiated and the site will be able to make the appropriate referral based on the situation/investigation with the child/student. It’s important for our parents/community to be aware that SUSD does provide behavioral/mental health… Continue Reading

What role do you see student mental health playing in addressing school safety, or how can we ensure that’s included?

Students can help address school safety by staying alert and if they see something, say something. This means if they see something on social media and/or school campuses about someone’s behavior that could be potentially dangerous to the safety of others report it to campus security, a counselor, a teacher, or administrators. Students should also… Continue Reading