Tucson High staff concerned for school safety weeks after school lockdown

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 10:30 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - It’s been nearly two weeks after a fight caused Tucson High School to go into lockdown. It’s still a hot topic for students, parents and Tucson Unified School District staff.

On Tuesday, it was the main point of discussion during the governing board meeting. During the meeting, it was stated the school’s intercom system had been lacking during the time of the lockdown.

“In response to what was reported with the intercom system we had our teams go out and do an exhaustive test and assessment on the intercom system,” Chief Operations Officer Blaine Young said during the meeting. “As our team did that we discovered that across the campus there were speakers that were working within speck. There were eight speakers that were identified that need to be addressed.”

He went on to say his team will waste no time working on repairs on campus, noting speakers will be repaired this week on Tucson High School’s campus after he said several didn’t work during the large fight that broke out on September 13. He also said two popular hang-out spaces, what’s known as the gallery and the football field, on campus had none.

“Our team is putting together a proposal to add intercom capability to those two areas. We’re going to pursue that as a priority,” Young said.

Because of this, the board also plans to inspect all district school’s intercom system to be sure.

This was point of concern for board member Jennifer Eckstrom, who explained this isn’t the first time there’s been confusion with lockdown policies. She said students and staff need to be able to hear these announcements when they happen. “Before I was on the board there was another incident at Tucson high and I think some of the students were out on the field during PE. I think that also needs to be addressed. Where do those students and teachers go during a lock down?” Eckstrom said.

The evening also brought out several concerned community and staff members to the podium, calling for change from the board and better policies for the future.

Demanding that the change needs to happen now.

“September 13th was the second time in three years that fights have erupted into chaos at lunchtime,” Teacher Katherine Paul said during the meeting. “It’s the second time we have called a lockdown during lunch without having a clear procedure on lockdowns during lunch.”

September 13th was a tough day for staff on campus, many of whom stepped in to break up fights with no clear direction on how to handle the students involved.

One thing many could agree on is that campus monitors did the best they could with what they had at the moment.

“I was subbing there that day when it happened,” Substitute teacher Jerey Schuster said during the meeting. “I want to give praise to several groups. I’ll start with the Tucson high monitors. They were right there on the scene to do their job professionally. They kept everybody safe, and they did an exemplary job.”

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