Public forum addresses safety in TUSD schools

Public forum addresses safety in TUSD schools
(Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - There was a lot of talk about current procedures, but also a discussion of future safety plans.

A community forum was held Wednesday night at Cholla High School, organized by the Tucson Unified School District, to talk about the district's emergency preparedness.

It comes in the wake of the Parkland, Florida shooting where 17 people were killed on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School campus.

At Tuesday night's TUSD Governing Board meeting, members held a special information session, involving two items revolving around school safety and weapons on campus.

The presentation, titled "Emergency Preparedness: Overview of Planning and Response," gave attendees a chance to see what is being done for safety purposes on TUSD campuses.

It was much of the same at Wednesday night's meeting inside the Cholla High School auditorium. Only about 75 people attended, with a smattering of concerned faces.

Joel Harris was one of them.

"I wanted to find out what TUSD was doing to keep my kids and other kids safe," said Harris, the father of three children.

The discussion was started by TUSD School Safety Director Jeffrey Coleman, who explained the level of commitment from his staff and officers.

"So we've got people out there not just waiting to go on a call but patrolling our campuses and looking for problems and responding to calls, round the clock," he said.

A 24/7 effort on TUSD campuses.

Wednesday's crowd got a rundown of emergency plans and procedures, and was able to ask questions to various law enforcement personnel and school officials.

Harris brought along his 6-year-old son, who attends Davis Bilingual Magnet School, who might be too young to grasp the concepts.

"He just wants to play. He likes his friends at school. But I don't think he thinks about somebody coming into school to do harm to them," Harris said. "That's something my wife and I think about. We try not to live in fear of that on a day-to-day basis. But when I d rop him off in the morning my prayer is that I'll see at the end of the day."

Harris said that it was reassuring to hear the district is being proactive and not just sitting back and waiting for the next tragedy to happen.

The second of these two TUSD forums is scheduled for Monday, March 12, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. It will be held at Sahuaro High School at 545 North Camino Seco on the east side of Tucson.

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