Tucson Unified School District plans to make security changes in response to rising gun and school violence around the country, Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo says.
The district’s school safety team is conducting thorough assessments of each campus to determine infrastructure changes that can be made to improve safety, Trujillo said at a media briefing last week on back-to-school topics.
TUSD will prioritize improvements to campuses that don’t have exterior fencing, surveillance cameras and keyless entry systems, he said. That also includes school campuses with irreparable fencing damage.
In addition, Trujillo said, district officials will meet with school principals this week to outline a series of new measures regarding visitors on campus.
People are also reading…
“In the wake of a very, very public campus disturbance and large-scale fight that took place at Tucson High in May, we have revised our policies and practices around parents and visitors coming onto the campus,” he said.
In that incident, a father and a teen were arrested after a brawl at Tucson High Magnet School caused the campus to be put on lockdown, officials said. Police said no injuries were reported.
Trujillo did not specify what the new visitation practices will be, and said district officials will make those details available to the community after meeting with the principals.
But, he said parents may expect visitations to be fully supervised, in addition to COVID-like restrictions such as allowing one visitor at a time.
“We’re still trying to maintain a spirit of being welcomed, but also have this responsibility to be security-minded,” Trujillo said.
Also on the security front, in June the TUSD Governing Board approved the hiring of eight employees for the district’s school safety team. The measure allocates more than $415,000 per year for the new hires, which will increase the district’s school safety team to 42 members. Six of the eight new employees will be armed.
The first day of the new TUSD school year is Aug. 4.
TUSD will expand its school safety team to place an officer at every high school. One board member voting against the plan said he's seen no evidence that adding more armed staff reduces the severity of school shootings.
Tucson Unified School District is now released of judicial oversight in the decades-long desegregation court case. Supervision of its practices will now be the TUSD governing board's responsibility.
With school starting soon, Tucson Unified School District still faces significant staffing shortages, particularly among math educators, special education teachers and bus drivers.
Have any questions or news tips about K-12 education in Southern Arizona? Contact reporter Genesis Lara at email@example.com