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Turlock Unified updates safety measures following Texas tragedy
tusd active shooter plan
Police surround the Turlock High School campus in 2019 during an active shooter scare. No shooter was found. - photo by Journal file photo
Turlock Unified School District officials are reinstating safety protocols that were changed during the pandemic in light of the recent school shooting that claimed the lives of 19 elementary students and two teachers in Texas.
"In TUSD, this hits all of us hard both personally and professionally. It reminds us to remain compassionate and mindful of how each of us responds to situations such as this differently. It also reinforces why we must remain diligent with the safety protocols we enhanced in TUSD six years ago. Our fidelity to these safety measures is what we can control as a school district at this time, knowing there are many external factors that contribute to the unthinkable," said the District in a statement.
During the pandemic, the District altered some of its safety protocols with the need to increase ventilation in classrooms. However, the prior protocols will now be reinstated including:

    Returning to locking classroom doors during instructional time;
    Utilizing door peepholes and/or nearby windows to view who is outside the classroom before allowing entrance; and
    Securing perimeter fencing with single points of entry.

The District also stated it would be rebooting its Active Threat Training for staff next year and will also be working to update school site safety plans for consistency and uniformity.
In the Uvalde, Texas shooting on Tuesday, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos drove his pickup truck into a ditch behind Robb Elementary School. He then jumped out carrying an AR-15 style rifle, entered the school through an apparently unlocked door and into a fourth-grade classroom where he opened fire.
According to an Associated Press report, the first police officers did not arrive on scene until 12 minutes after the crash and did not enter the school until four minutes after that. They were then driven back by gunfire from Ramos and took cover.
The crisis didn't come to an end until after a group of Border Patrol tactical officers entered the school roughly an hour later, said the Texas Department of Public Safety. They engaged in a shootout with the gunman, who was holed up in the fourth-grade classroom. The confrontation ended with Ramos being shot dead.
In 2013, TUSD had a rude awakening to its lack of school site safety when a local law enforcement officer decided to videotape himself walking around Medeiros Elementary School pointing out the school's lack of security, such as short fencing, open gates with no locks and open classroom doors.
Following that information, TUSD established a Safety Plan with regular Safety Cohort meetings to discuss issues in the district and implement any needed revisions.
Since then, installing security fencing at all TUSD campuses has been a priority and locked classrooms a policy.
In 2019, Turlock High School had an active shooter scare when someone called in a shooting on a campus radio. The report was found to be erroneous, but school officials and law enforcement didn't know it at the time and responded appropriately.
The school went into lockdown and law enforcement officers combed the campus with guns drawn looking for a shooter.
While the incident created undue concern for students, parents, staff and the community, it did serve as a valuable lesson on how to respond.

Along with updating safety protocols, TUSD said that its 19 mental health clinicians were available for students who may be struggling with news of the recent events.