Temescal Canyon High School (TCHS) has a student population of 2235 students in grades 9-12. On Friday, September 1, most students were outside of their classrooms during a 9:39 a.m. break.
At 9:42 a.m., a new automated “lockdown” system was activated at the school, triggering a distinctive PA alarm and automated voice announcement instructing everyone to “Take shelter immediately, this is not a drill…”
School administrators, teachers, and staff followed the lockdown protocol as they are trained to do, since safety is the number one priority in a lockdown event.
At 9:45 a.m., law enforcement received a 911 call from a concerned parent while the lockdown was in progress. The caller reported suspicious circumstances allegedly happening at TCHS that elevated the 911 emergency to a full blown police response.
We believe the lockdown announcement was activated as a result of a misdialed code from an internal phone—activation was unintentional. Automated lockdown alert technology has never before been available or used at any LEUSD schools. This advanced capability is new to TCHS, and was being configured as part of a project to replace Temescal Canyon HS’s older PA and alarm system. Some features of the new PA and alarm system have been operational and in use since midsummer ( i.e., voice paging). Programming the automated lockdown announcement feature is not complete, nor was this feature widely known by TCHS staff.
Summary of findings:
- There was no actual threat or danger to the school, to students, or to staff at any time;
- The automated lockdown announcement was inadvertently activated through a misdialed telephone code, and not because of action by site administration;
- School lockdown protocol was being followed everywhere on campus even before police received a 911 call from an outside party (the parent of a child at TCHS while in lockdown);
- Because of “suspicious circumstances” police responded immediately, and the lockdown remained in force as a precaution until a sweep of the campus confirmed it was safe to give the “all clear;”
- LEUSD is actively working with the alarm system vendor, law enforcement, and school staff to diagnose what happened last Friday, to prevent any possibility of a reoccurrence.
LEUSD wants to be transparent with these facts and any conclusions related to this incident, to ensure our safety systems and protocols are as effective as possible.