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Turlock, Denair school districts address campus security after recent incidents
school safety
Police search the Turlock High School campus room by room in September 2019, after erroneous reports of an active shooter were called in. There have been three false threats at Turlock High School this school year alone, prompting TUSD Superintendent Dana Trevethan to release a statement regarding campus safety (Journal file photo).

Turlock Unified School District and Denair Unified School District have been on the receiving end of multiple threatening hoaxes over the course of the 2022-23 school year. This month, superintendents for both districts released statements regarding the state of security on their respective campuses, while also providing reassurance to community members.

Within TUSD, a flurry of incidents have impacted the campus of Turlock High School, in particular. Since the start of current school year, there have been three false threats. On Oct. 20, the Turlock Police Department was notified of a conversation between two students in which one warned the other, “Not to come to school tomorrow.” On Feb. 8 and 13, graffiti was discovered each of the days in bathroom stalls indicating threats to campus.

Last Friday, TUSD Superintendent Dana Trevethan released a statement regarding the incidents.

“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,” Trevethan said. “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.”

Trevethan emphasized the District’s Student Accountability Chart, where it states that students who are identified as having made a false threat receive will receive a suspension five days and will receive a mandatory recommendation for expulsion.

On Feb. 15, DUSD Superintendent Terry Metzger released a similar statement, addressing an incident that took place at the Denair Elementary Charter Academy on Dec. 15. In this instance, students reported a suspicious man near the campus with what appeared to be a firearm. After no threat was detected by campus officials and local law enforcement, the campus and District received criticism for not placing schools on lockdown despite most campuses having multiple open points of entry.

“Right before Winter Break, we had a situation at DECA that thankfully ended up being nothing. The positive outcome from that situation was a hard look at our safety protocols and how we practice for all types of emergencies,” Metzger said.

Metzger shared that the installation of fencing and security cameras is in progress, with the projects occurring in phases.

“Denair Middle School is our newest school, and therefore, single-point entry is already in place. We are working toward that at our other sites, with fencing going up at the high school over the next several weeks. We are currently getting bods for the next phase of fencing at DECA as well. New security cameras will be installed this spring across the district,” she explained.

Meanwhile, TUSD already has single points of entry at campuses and expanded technology infrastructure and security cameras.

Trevethan also took time in her statement to address the fact that many of the District’s recent notifications may have caused alarm and skepticism of campus security.

“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,” she said.

In recent years, both TUSD and DUSD have introduced the STOPit app for anonymous reporting at all schools. The STOPit App is monitored 24/7 and can be downloaded at or


Emphasized outreach will continue during the week of March 13 at TUSD as they will be holding their annual “Say Something Week.”  The “Say Something” program was founded by the Sandy Hook Promise organization and teaches middle and high school students to recognize the warning signs of someone at-risk of hurting themselves or others and how to say something to a trusted adult to get help.

Resources are also continuing to be promoted at DUSD, as students are encouraged to notify school officials of any potential threats immediately.

Campus safety plans for TUSD sites can be found on each school’s online website by selecting “Health and Safety” under the “Students & Families” tab. Similarly, campus safety plans for Denair schools can be found at the DUSD website by selecting “District Safety Plan” under the “Parents/Students” tab.