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What You Need to Know About School Emergencies

Tucson Unified School District works hand-in-hand with law enforcement agencies in case of potential or real emergencies to ensure the safety of every child.

School Emergency Information Guide and Community Resources (in PDF): English | Spanish


School safety officers typically communicate via Parentlink, an automated call and email service. If an event lasts longer than 30 minutes, parents and guardians will receive periodic updates.


In a potential emergency, please stay away from the school unless instructed to come. Having additional people on site makes it harder for law enforcement to assess situations and find potential threats.

Modified Lockdown

Use Modified Lockdown when directed, police activity in the area, bee swarm outside, etc. Do the following:
  • Safely direct all persons into classrooms or secure offices/rooms
  • Account for all Student, Faculty, and Staff
  • Lock all exterior gates, exterior doors and windows
  • Continue normal routine inside the building
  • No one should leave a secured area without the approval of the Incident Commander or law enforcement
  • Wait for instructions or the All Clear signal
  • Alert Signal: Electronic or Verbal announcement will be made(Use plain language, no codes)
  • Incident Commander has discretion to modify this process depending on the situation


Use Lockdown for an active threat or hostile intruder on campus. Do the following:
  • Once the command for Lockdown is given, all staff should “Sweep“ outside of classrooms or offices for individuals to retrieve and secure. All staff should sound off “Lockdown” in a loud and clear manner.
  • Keep normal access exterior fence and patio gates open to allow first responders quick entry.
  • Stop instruction and all are to remain silent.
  • Secure all building doors and windows as quickly as possible.
  • Close blinds, cover door window(s) and turn off lights if you can do so safely.
  • Keep away from doors and windows. Move students to the area where they are least visible from outside the room and low to the ground.
  • If outside the building, assess the situation and determine if the school is the safest place to move to or if you and students should evacuate off campus.
  • No one leaves a secure area without the approval of the Incident Commander or law enforcement.


This term is used when a site may be experiencing a chemical- or weather-induced emergency.

Drop, Cover, and Hold

This is used in case of earthquakes.

Evacuation and Student-Parent/Guardian Reunification Plan

If an evacuation or early release is necessary, School Safety notifies parents and works with law enforcement and school staff to conduct these activities in the best way possible.

Every campus has an evacuation and parent/guardian and student reunification plan.

Reverse Evacuation

All children are moved indoors. This can happen in case of lightning, a bee swarm or someone potentially harmful in the neighborhood.

Maintaining Safe, Secure, Peaceful Environments on our School Campuses

The mission of the Department of School Safety is to create and maintain a safe and secure educational climate for all students and staff members, through the protection of life and property; the resolution of conflict and the proactive reduction of opportunities for the commission of crime on all district property.

The District is committed to creating a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment in all of the District’s schools.

We have several special units to help us meet our goals:

  • School Safety Officers
  • Uniformed Security Officers
  • Dispatchers
  • Traffic Safety Supervisors
  • School Crossing Guards
  • Emergency Management

For more information about the roles each of these groups plays, see About Us.

Please use our online School Safety Tip Line to report any concern or call 584-7676.


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1010 E Tenth St, Tucson, AZ 85719 | 520-225-6000