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Student Safety and Parent Notification

The safety and security of the San Francisco Unified School District’s students and staff is of utmost importance. SFUSD has a comprehensive crisis plan and district administrators coordinate closely with city emergency management officials and law enforcement representatives to monitor and update plans on a regular basis.

In addition, schools have security measures to ensure the well being of students and staff. These include: visitor check-in procedures, locked doors after the start of the school day, surveillance cameras, and school resource officer support for many sites.

How can I as a parent or guardian be assured that I receive the most up-to-date information from my child’s school?

To ensure that you receive the most accurate account of the emergency situation, keep your contact information up to date with schools on your child’s emergency card. We urge parents and guardians to opt into SFUSD's text messaging service SchoolMessenger so we can notify you of emergency situations. Learn how to opt in for text messaging.

How and when will I be notified if there is an emergency at my child’s school?

The means and immediacy of communication will depend on the scope of the event and on the potential or actual impact to the safety of the students. While it’s difficult to describe all possible scenarios, the following can be used a guide to gauge the district’s level of notification and systems used to communicate with families. Not every incident will warrant a notification response. Every situation must be assessed based on multiple factors. SFUSD reserves judgement in each case.

Impact Level Notification Response
A low-impact incident: Poses no or minimal risk to the safety of the school. There are no disruptions to regular school activities, and the incident is an isolated one that does not impact more than one student.

Example: A small disturbance or fight

  • Parents of involved student(s) will be contacted
A moderate-impact incident: Poses a moderate risk to the school. Results in some disruption to school activities such as a change of schedule or cancellation of some activities.

Example: Police activity in the neighborhood results in students being brought inside during their lunch

  • Send message by the end of the school day via email, phone call or website posting
A high-impact incident: The incident poses a significant risk to the safety of the students, which results in a significant disruption to school activities, change of schedule, evacuation, cancellation of activities, and impacts many students.

Example: A gas leak that requires a school evacuation and closure

  • Send messages as soon as possible via text message, email, phone call, or website posting
  • If a matter of public concern, SFUSD may also provide social media updates and/or a press release

Should I report to the scene of the incident/emergency?

In the case of a high-impact emergency situation in a school or at a school-sponsored activity, parents and guardians are encouraged to remain close to their sources of communication, whether phone or email, to ensure they are receiving accurate and timely updates. Access to the scene will be limited and controlled by fire or police officials, so you will be asked to wait for instructions for picking up your child.

Once the emergency is declared "over," will parents and guardians be able to report to their child’s school?

When SFUSD communicates to families that the school emergency has ended, we will provide on how you will reunite with your child. Parents and guardians will be directed to a specific location that could be off campus. It is important that everyone follow these directions for the safety of all students, staff and parents or guardians.

Remember, a student can only be released to an adult that is documented as an emergency contact.

If the school building is evacuated, how will I be able to locate my child?

If an evacuation occurs during the school day, there is a possibility that the students will return to school and normal bus service will resume. If returning to the school is not possible, students will be located at a safe site until you (or an adult designated on your child’s emergency card) can pick them up. Your child may text or or call you about the evacuation before SFUSD is able to notify you. Please rely on the district’s information and monitor your phone or email closely to ensure you are receiving accurate and timely updates from district staff. Student texts and social media can cause confusion and further disrupt safety protocols.

Remember, a student can only be released to an adult who is documented as an emergency contact. If you are a non-custodial parent, you must be listed with your child's emergency contact information as a guardian and show proper identification.

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