Central High lockdown showed Phoenix school district the safety plan works

Sep 12, 2022, 11:26 AM

(Screenshot/Google Maps)...

(Screenshot/Google Maps)

(Screenshot/Google Maps)

PHOENIX – Phoenix Union High School District leaders said that while their safety plan worked well during a lockdown last week at Central High, there was room for improvement.

Central and other nearby schools went into lockdown Friday afternoon after initial reports of shots fired on the campus near Central Avenue and Indian School Road.

The Phoenix Police Department later said they found no evidence of a shooting but that instead three students had been assaulted.

“The safety systems we have in place work. We saw clear evidence of that at Central… Ultimately, there was no active shooter, and no students or staff sustained injuries connected to a weapon on campus or the emergency response,” the district said in a letter posted on its website Sunday.

Students and families commended overall decision making and how quickly doors were locked, the letter said.

But, “We also learned that the timeliness of our initial communication needs to be improved, that the reunification and parent pick-up process should be revisited, and that setting clearer expectations for students during and after a lockdown is necessary, to name a few.”

Students left campus going in different directions, Sgt. Brian Bower said at a press conference Friday.

Classrooms were cleared by 2:20 p.m. and remaining students were released and directed to nearby Indian School Steele Park to meet their parents.
The district pointed out its recent investment in a safety division and a 16-point safety plan.

“We are vigilant with our emergency plans, drills and threat management,” the letter said. “We take all threats seriously and investigate them fully, just like Friday’s events continue to be investigated.”

Monday’s schedule at Central High was altered to accommodate students reluctant to return to campus. They could work from home or go to school grounds for lunch and counseling that will available from 12:30 p.m. until nearly 3 p.m.

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Central High lockdown showed Phoenix school district the safety plan works