The Turlock Unified School District is continuing to update and ramp up safety measures on campuses following the Uvalde, Texas elementary school shooting that took place in May. This week, TUSD began the process of introducing and reintroducing school staff members to active threat trainings through the Knowledge Saves Lives campaign.
“As part of our district-wide focus on safety and security, we will be providing continuing training opportunities for new-hires and substitutes as well as regular refresher trainings for each site moving forward,” said Assistant Superintendent Business Services Barney Gordon. “We’ve been collaborating with Knowledge Saves Lives for several years for a variety of security resources and trainings. TUSD was the first in our area to receive Active Threat training from KSL in 2018.”
On Wednesday, staff from Cunningham began the training. Julien and Crowell Elementary staff are scheduled to begin the training on Sept. 28, Medeiros and Osborn will start on Oct. 5, Walnut and Wakefield will have training on Oct. 12, and Earl and Brown Elementary staff will wrap trainings up on Oct. 19. TUSD high school staff are expected to conduct their training in January.
At each campus, staff will go through situational awareness exercises, classroom and office lockdown exercises and learning methods to disrupt a potential intruder using items readily available in a classroom or office space. Additionally, staff undergoes live simulation trainings that will include the firing of blank rounds so that staff can become familiar with the experience and the expected responses.
Trainings are scheduled to take place after school, with access to school campuses being impacted. According to the District, parents and students were notified of the trainings and limited access to campuses beforehand. Gordon explained that, with offices and other facilities closed to the campus community, schools have already planned arrangements for students who may still be on campus grounds.
“With the exception of some after school programs and Head Start, school will be out when these trainings are being conducted. Provisions are being made for after-school programs and Head Start,” Gordon said.
The start of the active threat trainings also coincided with the Start With Hello campaign, which all TUSD schools participated in this week. Start With Hello is a program led by the Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) initiative that encourages students to be more socially inclusive and connected to each other. Each day of the week, campuses held themed activities for students to participate in. Come springtime, 6th through 12th graders in the District will also participate in SHP’s Know the Signs program, which helps students and educators to recognize signs and get help for classmates who may be in danger or need help.
More information on TUSD’s staff training can be found at www.turlock.k12.ca.us/ksl and at www.knowledgesaveslives.com. Additional information about the Sandy Hook Promise and their programs can be found at www.sandyhookpromise.org.