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When should parents be notified of a school lockdown?

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

When should parents be notified of a school lockdown?

By Valerie Cavazos. CREATED Oct 2, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A lockdown at Catalina Magnet High School is sparking outrage among parents. Some are criticizing TUSD for not notifying them -- earlier -- when the lockdown was in place. Raising the questionm, do districts have policies on notifying parents of emergencies?

A two hour lockdown.  Forty-five police officers search the entire campus, inside and out. While school staff locked classroom doors and kept students -- safe inside. And parents, waited and worried, on the sidelines with no information from the school.

Mike Rameriz, a parent, said, "Horrible. No communication. I found out from my wife."

KGUN9 reporter Valerie Cavazos asked Shirely Morillo, a guardian, "Do you think TUSD should have contacted you earlier?" She replied, 'Yes, i think they should."

Another TUSD parent said, "I wasn't notified from my daughter until after the incident. I'd like to be notified as it's happening."

The principal sent a letter home to parents calling the lockdown a precautionary measure. During the lockdown, Cavazos asked TUSD's spokeswoman Cara Rene about the district's  protocol for notifying parents of emergencies -- like a lockdown. She said, "Of course we want to make sure the parents are contacted as quickly as possible but when you have a situation unfolding like this the main thing is to make sure the students are safe and do that first."

"Yeah, but for a parent being all nervous and scared and know guns inside it's tough," said Mike Ramirez," a TUSD parent.

Rene couldn't say if the school contacted parents during the lockdown, because not all TUSD  schools have the ability to send mass messages. There is no district wide mass messaging system. and an alert about the lockdown did not appear on the district's website.

What about other districts?

KGUN9 got in contact with Flowing Wells, Marana  and Sunnyside districts. They said they do have  district-wide systems in place. They do inform parents as soon as possible -- and yes -- during a lockdown.

Flowing Wells and Marana administrators post alerts on their  district websites.