Tucson High staff demands safety upgrades after campus melee | #schoolsaftey

Tucson High Magnet School staff submitted a list of demands to improve school safety after multiple fights broke out on campus Sept. 13 that led to six students’ arrests and injuries to one employee.   

The document, obtained by the Arizona Daily Star, is addressed to the school’s administrators and Tucson Unified School District’s governing board. It makes particular demands of Tucson High Principal Elizabeth Rivera. 

The demands were hand-delivered to Tucson High and TUSD administrators Wednesday, said Brieanne Buttner, a Tucson Education Association  spokesperson for the school’s safety committee and union representatives. The document was also emailed to TUSD administrators, including Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo. 

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Tucson High Magnet School. 

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A TUSD statement Friday confirmed administrators received the letter, adding: “The document has no signature and its original author continues to be anonymous.”

The staff members are asking for a narrower monitor-to-students ratio, new lockdown procedures during lunch, clear and consistent communication during emergencies and a communication system “besides texting a single administrator or calling the back gate.”

Additionally, the document states its recipients must acknowledge the ramifications of “consistent failings in the security administrations.”

Improvements demanded include better emergency accessibility for persons with different mobility needs, intercom repair, and installation of a light system to indicate emergencies.

In its statement, TUSD said: “The anonymous document contains numerous requests for additional training, safety monitors, and improved campus safety and security infrastructure, which we consider to be high priority items that will be assessed and hopefully addressed as soon as possible.”

“It’s an anonymous letter and there will be no direct answer. Please know that (TUSD) is taking all the items in the list as a priority,” TUSD officials said in a separate statement. 

The staff document stated the district has until Oct. 20 to initiate or complete the demanded actions.

But it called on principal Rivera, by contrast, to acknowledge the document within 24 hours of receipt.

The document said Rivera’s response should acknowledge that administrators did not adequately prepare students and staff for the incident and that individuals were placed in harm’s way because of “unclear communication between TUSD and TPD (Tucson Police Department).”

Rivera could not be reached Friday for comment.   

Staff members stated that to make TUSD emergency communication more effective, information on the severity of the emergency should be provided, an emergency contact for staff should be designated, and a text and email alert system should be op-out rather than opt-in.

The system should include substitute teachers, student teachers and all staff, the document states. 

Tucson High Magnet School office building. The list of safety requests from school staff makes particular demands of Tucson High Principal Elizabeth Rivera.

Grace Trejo

The document also stipulates all staff should have mandatory ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) training and campus security should distribute a quarterly campus incident report.

It also calls for “thorough and complete debriefing of all incidents with all staff including monitors/security staff, cafeteria staff and classroom staff.”

Buettner said staff members plan to give testimonials of their experiences during lockdown that day at the next TUSD Board of Governors meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 26.

The public meeting will convene at 5:30 p.m. at Duffy Community Center, Multipurpose Room, 5145 E. Fifth Street. To watch the meeting online go to:

Of the students arrested, five face charges of disturbing an educational institute and the sixth faces a felony charge of assaulting a school employee, Tucson police said.

The injured employee received medical treatment on-site, police said. 

Police said a student had been reported to have a weapon but no weapon was found during a search of campus. The reports of a gun on campus were based on a picture circulating on social media, with no concrete evidence, police said.

Reporter Jessica Votipka covers K-12 education for the Star. Contact her at [email protected]

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