A Message Regarding Social Media Threats
Safety has always been on the top of our minds. Now more than ever, we are seeing a rise in threats that have been made or shared on social media, or even those which have been verbally shared by students at school.
Please take a quick moment to view this video from the Peoria Police Department which addresses school threats.
Safety is the number one priority in the Peoria Unified School District.
Emergency Operations Plan
Peoria Unified has a comprehensive Emergency Operations Plan that addresses school crisis situations.
Peoria Unified administrators have been trained and conduct drills for each type of emergency situation – with and without students present. The district has a strong relationship with all local municipalities to ensure our Emergency Operations Plan is up-to-date and thorough. The plan is updated annually to allow the best outcome in the event of a crisis, with guidance and oversight by the police departments that serve our district.
Each school site will conduct the following practice with students and staff:
- Monthly evacuation (fire) drills
- Two lockdown drills per school year
- Two shelter-in-place drills per school year
- Two bus evacuation drills per year
At the discretion of the site supervisor, drills may or may not be communicated to parents in advance.
Specific details within the Emergency Operations Plan are intentionally kept confidential for the safety of our staff, students and guests in our buildings.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SCHOOL SAFETY
Q: Do our campuses have a dedicated School Resource Officer (SRO) Program?
All Peoria Unified high schools have a school resource officer to provide support on their campus. Their role includes security but extends well beyond that, to include teaching, increasing community engagement, serving as a mentor and role model. They also establish relationships and provide additional police department resources to each of the elementary schools near their high school.
Q: Has Peoria Unified conducted a full Threat Vulnerability Assessment (TVA)?
Peoria Unified routinely reviews and updates its safety procedures and, in the summer of 2022, conducted a thorough review of the Emergency Operations Plan with the addition of the district’s new safety coordinator. This includes assessing building and campus design layouts for any potential safety weaknesses and making updates as necessary. Adding to the work that began before the pandemic, all Peoria Unified school campuses will have a TVA accomplished by the end of the 22-23 school year.
Q: What is the district’s lockdown plan and drill schedule?
Peoria Unified runs fire drills monthly, and shelter-in-place and lockdown drills at least twice per year. The timing of these drills vary by school site and principals will be communicating safety drills to families after they are conducted.
Peoria Unified also collaborates with city and state first responders on scenario-based drills to evaluate response times with various scenarios. The district may update its plan based on feedback from law enforcement as needed.
Q: Does the district have a parent/guardian reunification plan?
Peoria Unified’s Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) includes a detailed reunification plan for families, should students need to evacuate. The district routinely reviews this plan, meets with community partners which may be needed to provide support and resources in the event of a crisis, and works with first responders to enhance scenario-based drills. Peoria Unified also makes routine updates to the plan as needed.
Q: Does the district have a standard Emergency Operations Plan for any type of emergency (attacker, flood, fire, etc.)
The district’s EOP, also referenced above, includes not only a reunification plan but addresses all types of crisis situations. Although the plan is not shared in detail with the public, it includes the following:
- The process for activating the Emergency Operations Center
- Crisis Communication Notification Process
- Response Priorities
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Outside Resources to Consider
Q: As a parent, why can’t I receive a copy of my school’s Emergency Operations Plan?
For safety reasons, Peoria Unified shares high-level information with the public while the full plan is only available to members of the district’s Crisis Response Team.
School Resource Officers
The Peoria Unified School District has long-standing relationships with the City of Glendale and City of Peoria police departments to ensure the safety procedures we have in place are met with their approval and expertise. We are also proud to partner with both of these police departments to provide School Resource Officers on all seven high school campuses. These SROs establish relationships at their respective feeder elementary schools and both Glendale and Peoria Police Departments will increase patrol in the immediate area at a school site, should they require it.
The shelter-in-place protocol provides safe refuge for students, staff and visitors at the school. This might include a situation taking place in the community, near the proximity of the school or a biohazard situation. During a shelter-in-place, students and staff will remain indoors with the doors locked, as directed by either law enforcement or the school principal, although the educational learning environment may proceed as usual.
A Shelter-in-Place may be used for the following incidents:
- Bee swarm, assault/fight on campus, police activity in the community, social media threat, etc.
Lockdowns may be issued in situations involving dangerous intruders or other incidents that may pose a threat to a student or staff’s immediate safety. During a lockdown, all interior and exterior doors will be locked. Parents and visitors will not be allowed on campus during a lockdown.
A Lockdown may be used in the following incidents:
- Intruder, violent parent or guest, weapon on campus, social media threat, bomb threat, etc.
Evacuation and Relocation
The district’s Evacuation protocol includes everything from evacuating from a room to another room – evacuating from one building to another – evacuating from a building to the school grounds – or evacuating off-site to an alternate location.
An Evacuation may be used in the following incidents:
- Fire, bomb threat, fire, gas leak, power outage, suspicious package, etc.
In the event of an off-site evacuation, the district will implement its Reunification Plan and families will receive communication from the school district, advising them of the location and area in which they can pick up their child. Please note that proper identification will be required to further ensure a child’s safety.
The Emergency Operations Plan includes specific guidelines for relocating students with disabilities and non-English speaking students.
Communication During a School Emergency
Parents will be notified during a school crisis or shortly thereafter, depending on how long the event lasts. It is critically important that parents follow the district’s protocol in the event of an emergency. The school will not answer their phone during an emergency. Parents and visitors will not be allowed on campus until the campus has been deemed safe.
Detailed information regarding the emergency situation will be shared on the district’s website and will be updated as additional details become available.
Parents will also receive a phone, email and/or text message with details about the event. It is important to keep your contact information updated at your child’s school site. You can always check social media but remember that official district communication will always be shared directly on our website.
Please note that during a school crisis, the school may not answer the phone. The staff’s number one priority is to ensure everyone’s safety on campus. The district’s Communications and Public Relations Department will share information with families once it has been verified.
Depending on the type of crisis situation, students may be asked to text their parents and let them know that they are safe. In some crisis situations, students will not be allowed to use their phones.
We know you have questions. Information will be shared as it becomes available to us as quickly as possible.
If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please call 9-1-1.
Safe School Line 623-486-6199
In order to maintain the safest learning environment, Peoria Unified School District offers a Safe School Line for students, parents and community members to anonymously report threats or suspicious activity. Any messages will be retrieved during the district's regular business hours and reported to the appropriate school principal.
The Peoria Unified School District has a zero-tolerance policy on bullying. Resources are available for parents and students if you suspect someone has been bullied. To view the Parents Guide to Bullying, or the Bullying Prevention Brochure, see the links on the right.
How do I report bullying?
- Tell a teacher, principal, guidance counselor or any staff member on campus
• Tell parents or a family member
• Tell any adult you know and trust
• Complete a Bully Incident Report Form and return it to your school’s front office
• Call Peoria Unified’s Safe School Line at 623-486-6199
• Additional resources can be found on the Health and Human Services Stop Bullying website